Sermons and Writings Vol. 4

This material is copyrighted.  Feel free to copy and distribute.  However, copy it only in it’s entirety. 

Kevin Kraut


April 1853 – Feb. 1854

And as all have not faith, seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith. (Doc. & Cov. 88:118)


compiled and published


Ogden Kraut


May 1995


The information in this fourth volume of Sermons and Writings of the Restoration is taken primarily from the Deseret News and the Millennial Star, between the dates of April 1853 and February 1854.

Regrettably, many of today’s sermons and writings fall short in demonstrating the inspiration, fire and knowledge of the early Church prophets. Much interesting and vital information is being disregarded and withheld from LDS members in general, so it becomes almost an individual search to locate these gems of knowledge.

Since many of these manuscripts, journals, issues of the Millennial Star and Deseret News are rare, expensive to buy, and difficult to extensively read and study, we are making available the most interesting and valuable selections that were given to the Saints over a century ago.

Early leaders, especially Brigham Young, encouraged the Latter-day Saints to read and study–especially in the area of theology:

We want every branch of science taught in this place that is taught in the world. But our favourite study is that branch which particularly belongs to the Elders of Israel–namely, theology. Every Elder should become a profound theologian–should understand this branch better than all the world. There is no Elder who has the power of God upon him but understands more of the principles of theology than all the world put together. (Brigham Young, JD 6:317)

–The Publisher



The Right to Heirship

Brigham Young

April 8, 1853,

Deseret News, April 30, 1853

I will now give the text, and probably shall call upon the brethren to fill out the sermon. I do not know that I can refer you to the Bible for the particular chapter and verse to find the text; but the text may be given here, and the book referred to hereafter.

The text is the right to heirship. I will, however, make an addition to the scripture before I proceed further with my remarks and say, “the right of heirship is the Priesthood,” for unquestionably this will be connected with the text, and brought into the discourse.

In the little that I shall say, I will endeavor to point out the items of doctrine, and the right view to be contemplated and spoken upon by the brethren, for I wish this subject to be properly understood.

Pertaining to the Kingdom of God; to this earth; to the organization of it; to the bringing forth of the children of men upon it; to the preparatory gospel or law, to fit and prepare them, after receiving their tabernacles, to enter again into the presence of their Father and God, this heirship, this right, did belong, still belongs, and forever will belong to the first born son in every family of Adam’s race.

This is understood from the Bible, not only by the Latter Day Saints, but also by the Christian world. Jesus Christ, first begotten of the Father, of all the rest of the [8] children, and of all they possess, alone is the lawful heir. This is no mystery.

After passing over the ages and generations of the children of men for about six thousand years, we will come to the present congregation and say, the right of heirship is the same now that it was in the beginning. It is as it was, and as it ever will be, worlds without end. This I wish the Latter Day Saints to understand a little better than they have heretofore. I will give you my reason.

For instance, here are sisters in this Church that have been bereaved of their husbands, who died full of faith in the holy gospel, and full of hope for a glorious resurrection to eternal life. One of them is visited by a High Priest, of whom she seeks information touching her situation, and that of her husband. At the same time, the woman has a son 25 years of age, is an Elder in one of the quorums of Seventies, and faithful in all the duties connected with his calling. She has also other sons and daughters. She asks this High Priest what she shall do for her husband, and he very religiously says to her, “you must be sealed to me, and I will bring up your husband, stand as proxy for him, receive his endowments, and all the sealing, keys, and blessings, and eternal Priesthood for him, and be the father of your children.”

Hear it ye mothers! The mother that does that, barters away the sacred right of her son. Does she know it? No! This has been done in hundreds of instances, though innocently and in ignorance, which makes it excusable. For my part, I am willing to wink at the ignorance of the people, and I believe our Heavenly Father is.

But you that will hear, and be made to understand the true principles that govern this matter, go from this place, and do hereafter as has been done in by gone days; instead of the children being robbed of their just rights, the woman shall loose her children, and they shall yet stand in their place, and be put in the possession of their rights. What is to be done? Let mothers honor their children. If a woman has a son let her honor that son. But a mother may say, “my son is only 5 years old. I never had but one son among a number of daughters; I am advancing in years, and may die before I can be sealed to [9] my husband.” Let that son wait until he is old enough to officiate for his father, and though you may go into your grave, let your son do his duty, and never hang to the skirts of a man that is avaricious.

You may see a great many miserly persons with regard to dollars and cents; it is just as natural for men to be miserly with regard to their religious blessings. You may see hundreds of elders who say to the sisters, “Come, and be sealed to me,” crawling round to make the holy ordinances of God a matter of speculation to administer to their avaricious dispositions. They will tell you that you will go into eternity, and find yourselves without husbands, and cannot get an exaltation, that you cannot have this, that, or the other, unless you are sealed to them. I am free, and so are you. My advice to the sisters is, never be sealed to any man, unless you wish to be. I say to you High Priests and Elders, never, from this time, ask a woman to be sealed to you, unless she wants to be, but let the widows and children alone.

I will refer you to a discourse I delivered here last season, upon the subject of the resurrection and the millennium, setting forth before the people the work to be accomplished in that period of time. We have at least one thousand years, counting 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes and 57 seconds to the year, if I recollect right, wherein the Elders of Israel will enter holy temples of the Lord, and officiate for just such persons as you and I, that have done the work we were called to do in our day, whether it was much or little. There will be hundreds of thousands of the sons of Jacob to administer in these temples for you and I. Joseph, Hyrum, Father Smith, and many others will be head of this dispensation, and hold the keys of it for they are not taken from him, they never were in time, they never will be in eternity. I shall be there if I live, or if I die. If I die, my brethren or my children will officiate for me; I shall lose nothing through death. Magnify your calling in this Church, and I will warrant you an exaltation just as good, and as great, as you can ask for.

I might notice many more items pertaining to this matter; but the Elders going round telling the sisters they must be sealed to them or they cannot get an exaltation, particularly, has wounded my feelings. How ignorant such [10] men are! This to me is like a shadow. To talk about it is sheer nonsense. Let every man and woman magnify their calling in the Kingdom of God and He will take care that we have our exaltation.

Sisters come to me and inquire what they shall do, saying, Bro. A. or B. taught me so and so. They are as wild as the deer on the mountains; their ideas and calculations are derogatory to every shade of good sound sense, and to every principle of the Priesthood of Heaven.

Brethren, learn to be patient, and submissive to your duty and callings in life, and not be anxious to accumulate to yourselves that, which, when you have obtained, you are at a loss to know what to do with it. There are scores of men in this house, that if they could pile up an almost unlimited amount of gold, in a short time they would not possess one dime of it. There are also scores of Elders here, if they had 500 women sealed to them, and a thousand children they would destroy themselves, and those over whom they exercise any influence. They would not know what to do with them. You want to have another wife; but do you use well the one you have got? It is a bad omen to me when a man wants another wife, and the one he has got is ready to leave him. If you cannot keep the jewel you already possess, be cautious how you take more, lest you lose them both.

I did not design to speak long, as it hurts me. I think I have laid out the text before the brethren, plain enough for them to preach upon it; I wish them so to exhibit the subject before the people, that they may carry it away in their understandings.

Let me hear no more of this, “You must be sealed to me or you cannot get an exaltation.” If a man gets the widow of a good man, sealed, married to him, with a view to hold control over, and rob every child in that family of their birthright, he will be mistaken. It will not be. I say to you my brethren, young men, you elders, rise up and magnify your calling, honor the Priesthood, and if a man has stepped up and married your mother under the influence of such an expectation, turn him out of your house and maintain your birthright.


[11]                    Celestial Marriage in Deseret

Orson Pratt, April 8, 1853

No man in Utah, who already has a wife, and who may desire to obtain another, has any right to make any propositions of marriage to a lady, until he has consulted the President over the whole Church, and through him, obtains a revelation from God, as to whether it would be pleasing in His sight. If he is not forbidden by revelation, the privilege is granted, he still has no right to consult the feelings of the young lady, until he has obtained the approbation of her parents, provided they are living in Utah; if their consent cannot be obtained, this also ends the matter. But if the parents or guardians freely give their consent, then he may make propositions of marriage to the young lady; if she refuse these propositions, this also ends the matter; but if she accept, a day is generally set apart by the parties, for the marriage ceremony to be celebrated. It is necessary to state, that before any man takes the least step towards getting another wife, it is his duty to consult the feelings of the wife which he already has, and obtain her consent, as recorded in the 24th paragraph of the revelation published in first number of the Seer.

When the day set apart for the solemnization of the marriage ceremony has arrived, the bridegroom and his wife, and also the bride, together with their relatives and such other guests as may be invited, assemble at the place which they have appointed. The scribe then proceeds to take the names, ages, native towns, counties, states, and countries, of the parties to be married, which he carefully enters on record. The President, who is the Prophet, Seer, and Revelator over the whole Church throughout the world, and who alone holds the keys of authority in this solemn ordinance–as recorded in the 2nd and 5th paragraphs of the Revelation on Marriage–calls upon the bridegroom, and his wife, and the bride, to arise, which they do, fronting the President. The wife stands on the left hand of her husband, while the bride stands on her left. The President then puts this question to the wife:– “Are you willing to give this woman to your husband to be his lawful and wedded wife for time and for all eternity? If [12] you are, you will manifest it by placing her right hand within the right hand of your husband.” The right hands of the bridegroom and bride being thus joined, the wife takes her husband by the left arm, as if in the attitude of walking; the President then proceeds to ask the following question of the man:–“Do you, brother (calling him by name,) take sister, (calling the bride by her name,) by the right hand, to receive her unto yourself, to be your lawful and wedded wife, and you to be her lawful and wedded husband, for time and for all eternity, with a covenant and promise, on your part, that you will fulfill all the laws, rites, and ordinances, pertaining to this holy matrimony, in the new and everlasting covenant, doing this in the presence of God, angels, and these witnesses, of your own free will and choice?” The bridegroom answers, “yes”. The President then puts the question to the bride:– “Do you, sister, (calling her by name,) take brother, (calling him by name,) by the right hand, and give yourself to him, to be his lawful and wedded wife for time and for all eternity, with a covenant and promise, on your part, that you will fulfill all the laws, rites, and ordinances, pertaining to this holy matrimony, in the new and everlasting covenant, doing this in the presence of God, angels, and these witnesses, of your own free will and choice?” The bride answers, yes. The President then says, “In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and by the authority of the Holy Priesthood, I pronounce you legally and lawfully husband and wife, for time and for all eternity; and I seal upon you the blessings of the holy resurrection, with power to come forth in the morning of the first resurrection, clothed with glory, immortality, and eternal lives; and I seal upon you the blessings of thrones, and dominions, and principalities, and powers, and exaltations, together with the blessings of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; and say unto you, be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth that you may have joy and rejoicing in your posterity in the day of the Lord Jesus. All these blessings, together with all other blessings pertaining to the new and everlasting covenant, I seal upon your heads, through your faithfulness unto the end, by the authority of the Holy Priesthood, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, Amen.” [13] The Scribe then enters on the General Record, the date and place of the marriage, together with the names of two or three witnesses who were present.

In the Revelation on Marriage, we are informed that there is never but one man on the earth at the same time who holds the keys to minister the ceremony of marriage for time and for all eternity, and to seal the same on earth with authority, so that it may be acknowledged and sealed in Heaven. The keys of authority are conferred by revelation, and by the holy anointing, upon the Prophet, Seer, and Revelator of the Church, who is the President over all the Saints throughout the world. In cases where it is inconvenient for him to attend, he has the authority to appoint others to officiate in his stead. But in all cases of this nature, he must be consulted by the parties, and his sanction be obtained.

When a man who has a wife, teaches her the law of God, as revealed to the ancient Patriarchs, and as manifested by new revelation, and she refuses to give her consent for him to marry another according to that law, then, it becomes necessary for her to state, before the President, the reasons why she withholds her consent; if her reasons are sufficient and justifiable, and the husband is found in the fault, or in transgression, then, he is not permitted to take any step in regard to obtaining another. But if the wife can show no good reason why she refuses to comply with the law which was given unto Sarah of old, then it is lawful for her husband, if permitted by revelation through the Prophet, to be married to others without her consent, and he will be justified, and she will be condemned, because she did not give them unto him, as Sarah gave Hagar unto Abraham, and as Rachel and Leah gave Bilhah and Zilpah to their husband, Jacob.

It is the duty of a man who takes another wife, to look after her welfare and happiness, and to provide for her the comforts of life, the same as for the first; for the Scripture, in speaking of such a man, says, “If he take him another wife, her food, her raiment, and her duty of marriage shall he not diminish.” (Exodus xxi. 10)

There is no particular rule, as regards the residence of the different branches of a family. It is very frequently the case that they all reside in the same dwelling, and take [14] hold unitedly and with the greatest cheerfulness, of the different branches of household or domestic business, eating at the same table, and kindly looking after each other’s welfare, while the greatest peace and harmony prevail year after year. Their children play and associate together with the greatest affection as brothers and sisters; while each mother apparently manifests as much kindness and tender regard for the children of the others, as for her own. And morning and evening, when the husband calls together his family to worship the Lord and call upon His name, they all bow the knee, and, with the greatest union of feeling, offer their devotions to the Most High.

It is sometimes the case that the husband provides for his wives separate habitations, as Jacob did for his four wives, each of whom had a separate tent. (See Genesis xxxi. 33.) Where all the wives are equally faithful, the husband generally endeavors to treat them all without partiality.

Jealousy is an evil with which the Saints in Utah are but seldom troubled; it is an evil that is not countenanced by either male or female; and should any indulge such a passion, they would bring a disgrace and reproach upon themselves which they could not easily wipe away. And indeed, it is very rare, that there are any causes for jealousy; for the citizens of that Territory think more of their virtue than they do of their lives. They know that if they have any connections out of the marriage covenant, they not only forfeit their lives by the law of God, but they forfeit their salvation also. With such views resting upon the minds of both old and young, the people have the greatest of confidence in each other’s integrity; they can entrust their wives and daughters, without any distrust, to the protection and care of their neighbors. Under the strict and rigid laws of virtue which prevail and are carried into general practice, wives are not in constant fear of the inconstancy of their husbands; parents are not fearful of their children being seduced and their characters being destroyed; neither are they fearful that their children will form contracts of marriage without their consent; for such a thing is not allowed in the whole territory. Such a state of things actually existing, not in theory alone, but in [15] general practice, removes every cause for jealousy, distrust, and want of confidence, and lays a broad and permanent foundation for peace and union. If a man ill-treats any one of his wives, he is looked upon as having violated the law of God, and it is difficult for him to recover from the disgrace.

There are more quarrelings, and jealousies, and dis-unions, and evil speakings, in one week, among two thousand families, taken at random any where in the United States or England, than would be seen throughout all Utah Territory in five years. And there is more unvirtuous conduct practiced in one day in New York City, or Albany, or Buffalo, or Cincinnati, or St. Louis, than would be practiced in Utah in a thousand generations, unless they greatly degenerated from their present standard of morals. (Mill. Star 15: 214-216)


Priesthood Authority and Heirship

Orson Hyde, April 8, 1853

After President Young’s sermon on heirship at General Conference, April 8, 10 a.m., President O. Hyde spoke as follows:

Brethren and Sisters, I think the words that have just fallen from the lips of our President must have left an impression upon all hearts susceptible of understanding, that time will not easily remove.

I am sure there is no one in this congregation, however he may be entangled in the meshes of the net himself, but must be constrained to say, “true and righteous are Thy ways thou King of Saints.” When we hear the law which governs the right of heirship, laid down so clearly, plainly, and forcibly as on the present occasion, we can but see, and seeing we can but rejoice and be glad.

When a doctrine, with which we have not formerly been acquainted, is first preached to us, it is not always that we come into possession of the whole truth pertaining to it at once; this we do not expect.

I will illustrate it by a principle with which we are all acquainted. Does any person in this congregation doubt the ability of those skilled in the manufacture of [16] sugar, to produce the article from the beet root in this valley? I presume there is not one that doubts it. Again, is there any one that doubts the ability of those who are engaged in the iron regions, to produce, in time, that which is needful and necessary for the comfort and convenience of the people, and for the improvement of this valley? Did they produce, by the first blast, by the first exertion, that quality of iron that was necessary to cast into andirons like these? [Pointing to two andirons which were placed upon the desk.] No, there were many comparatively fruitless attempts before any thing essential could be brought out; but these fruitless efforts must of necessity precede the real, the genuine product. So it is with regard to the manufacture of sugar. There have been attempts made this year to produce sugar, and partially successful. We are moving step by step, to produce the very article that we need.

How many times have the people of this valley been engaged in various matters and things; but have they brought forth the genuine articles they wished to produce the very first attempt? No. Is it to be expected that heaven will pour out the fullness of the truth, in all its brightness, at once upon us mortals, whose minds are naturally in darkness, naturally mixed with the world and its errors? No. But the Lord first sends mortals like unto ourselves to give us light in proportion to our capacity, and by degrees prepares us to drink of the golden streams in all their rich effulgence and glory.

We have had sudden impressions, intimations and suggestions from time to time which were correct, though perhaps, not so clear, and a little error mixed up along with them; therefore, if the exertion to do right has been made, and error has stepped in, the President has said he could exercise compassion, and wink at the ignorance that has existed; but the time has now come, when this error is being swept away by the light of truth, and the pure principles upon which we can ground our faith are beginning to be made manifest.

Jesus Christ is the heir of this lower world. Though He has been deprived, through the operation of the enemy to all righteousness, for a long time, of enjoying His right; though the world was His own, and everything in it; [17] though all things were made by Him that were made, yet when He came to take possession of His inheritance, His own would not receive Him; hence He said, “the foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man hath not where to lay his head,” even upon His own inheritance there was not room where He might be permitted to lay His head. The day was postponed, and the time thrown in the future, when He should come into possession of His own.

But will that time come? Will the Son of God always be deprived of His right to the inheritance? No; it cannot be; He will come armed with power and glory eventually, and take possession of His own. When He came to take the world, to rule and reign over it, His effort was comparatively a fruitless one; for instead of this, He was crucified. Fruitless, did I say? Must there not be an experiment, an exertion made before anything can be accomplished? Were there not many exertions made before that andiron could be produced? Certainly. Were they fruitless? Comparatively not, for they were necessary, and must precede that article to pave the way. The Son of God came to take possession of His inheritance here. Did we say it was a fruitless attempt? I will not say so; it was necessary, it was as it should be. Yet He went from the world without becoming its ruler, He went to accomplish the will of His Father, to gather strength and power to effect, in His own due time, the very object and purpose for which He came. Though He had to lay down His life, it all seemed to be right and necessary; yet this does not discourage Him; He is resolved to try it again. Why? Because He is the Heir, and will not give up His inheritance, no more than any son would yield up his heirship to a stranger, when his eyes are opened, and his mind can comprehend his rights and privileges.

I tell you, brethren, this is beginning to look like the restitution of all things, when every right is restored to its legitimate heir. When every man and woman are put in possession of their own, then there is nothing to make life disagreeable. If I should see one belonging to me, in the hands of another, I should feel that something was lacking to complete my happiness; but if everything that belongs to me is restored to my jurisdiction, and placed [18] under my control, where then is the aching void? It cannot be, for every principle, desire, and affection of the whole soul is satisfied, and I will say it is right. When all things are restored to their proper place, every treasure to its rightful heir, there can be no ground for dissatisfaction, no ground of complaint or of murmuring. And He that sitteth in the heavens understands and knows well the time to bring about all these things, the proper time to let the heir know and understand his right.

It would not be wise to tell the inexperienced child that an extensive legacy had fallen to him, until he should be old enough to appreciate it. If it were told him before, he might give way to vanity, and a thousand foolish ideas and vices that would prove his ruin. When he is kept in ignorance of it until he is able to appreciate it, it is very likely, when he is informed of it, to make him a dignified being. These principles have been wisely hid from us, while we were children. When the time draws near that we can appreciate them, our Heavenly Father begins to make them manifest, to show to the heirs what belongs to them, and those who have taken the rights of others must relinquish them, they must fall back into the hands of their legitimate owners. For just as sure as Lucifer, who has usurped authority over this world, has got to resign it to the Son of God, so sure must every right which has been taken from others be relinquished to its rightful owner. Not that I would compare my brethren who may have transcended certain bounds, to Lucifer; but I tell you that Lucifer has a little sprinkling in the matter; this is the alloy. However, it is to be winked at, and heaven’s truth will purge the hearts that beat for immortality and eternal life from all this alloy, and by and by they will find themselves right side up with care.

It is for us to attend to the instructions we receive from those who are called to teach us, and do our duty in the office and calling unto which we are appointed, and Heaven will provide, and take care we get those things which we need. Why, says Isaac, (when his father had prepared the wood and fire for the burnt-offering,) “where is the lamb to sacrifice?” Oh, says Abraham, looking upon his son with eyes that spoke volumes, and a heart containing a world of feeling, “God will provide the sacrifice.” [19] Little did Isaac think he was the individual. The words of Abraham were enough to teach his son not to give himself any anxiety about that at all. We are to provide the wood and fire, and the lamb God will provide in His own due time. Our greatest concern ought to be how to discharge the duties that are made obligatory upon us, how to act in our respective callings, with an eye single to the glory of God.

If I understand my own feelings, and am capable of judging of things, I want none of the blessings that belong to my neighbor. I do not crave them. If I come in possession of anything that is not mine, and I might entertain the strongest feelings of attachment towards it, if I must have these feelings sacrificed, and the object of my tenderest regard taken away and given to another, what shall I do? Why, suffer it and not complain.

Brethren and sisters, I say things are coming to light, hidden things are being made manifest, and we have reason to rejoice and be glad.

I want to say a few words to the Elders that are going abroad to preach the Gospel. If I had never been abroad to preach, I could not speak upon this matter as I now can, though I have not been abroad, perhaps, as much as many others have, but I have to a certain extent, which has afforded me an experience I wish others to be benefited by. Brethren, do we realize that we are not only seeking for a crown of eternal life in a glorious resurrection, but that the destinies of the world depend upon our course, our actions, and our conduct in life. What are we sent forth to preach the Gospel for? To save the meek; but to the proud, the haughty, and high-minded, we are not sent. Jesus came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. And “how beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that publisheth peace, and bringeth glad tidings to the meek.” That is, in other words, how beautiful are the feet of them that come from the mountains, bringing glad tidings unto the meek. How enviable is their position. There are no beings upon earth that, in reality, are so dignified and exalted as the men that have these glad tidings to proclaim to the world, though the world may not know it, may not see them in their true character.

The world does not know them because it knew not their Master, but crucified and put Him to death. This, [20] however, did not deprive Him of His glory; and although they did not appreciate the blessings, it was known in heaven, and on earth by the faithful.

So we His servants are going forth to save the meek–to proclaim the truth to the meek of the earth, and gather them together. It is said in the Good Book that the Saints shall judge the world. Who are going forth now to judge the world? Who are going forth to bind up the law and seal up the testimony? To whom has this work been committed in the last days? To the servants of our God.

But, says one, in the day of judgment all these things are to be made known, and the destinies of men are to be made manifest away in the future, sometime. What does the Savior say? He says, “Now is the judgment of this world, and now shall the prince of this world be cast out.” I see, even in the kingdoms of the world, where their laws are in force and prevail, yea even here in our city, I see men apprehended for crime. Shall we give them a postponement of their judgment until the final breaking up of the government away ahead? No. But immediately after the crime is committed. I see them arraigned at the bar of justice, tried and condemned; then they may be seen ornamented with a ball and chain in the street.

Now is the judgment of this world; now are the laws of heaven and of earth in force. Shall crime be permitted to accumulate in the Kingdom of God, and never meet its doom until the end of the world? Now is the judgment of this world, and when an individual goes forth with the everlasting Gospel, bears his testimony in meekness, and it is rejected by any person or people, and he washes his feet in clean water, bearing testimony of it before his God, what has he done to that people? Do they want to wait for another judgment, when the judgment is already passed? For it is said, thou shalt go thy way, and return not again to that manor, to that house, city, or people.

When the servants of God bind up the law, and wash their feet against a people, does not this look like the Saints judging the world? With such a people the judgment is passed, though they do not know it; but they will find it out when they wake up from the long sleep of death, and reckon their history, they will find out away back at a certain time a servant of God washed his feet against [21] them; ah! there the die was cast, there their doom was sealed, there they were barred out against coming into the Kingdom of God; that was the important moment when salvation passed from them.

Is there any such thing as men having power to forgive sins on earth and they are forgiven in heaven, of retaining them and they are retained in heaven? When the servants of God wash their feet against those who reject His counsel against themselves, do they retain their sins or forgive them? The Lord says, “What you do on earth I do in heaven,” because, “he that heareth you heareth me, and he that rejecteth you, rejecteth me.” Brethren, think of these things, and remember the words spoken still further, viz., “But search with all diligence and care.” Be careful not to wash your feet against any but those that are worthy; but endeavor, with long-suffering, and amid the contradiction of sinners against yourself, to be diligent and patient until it goes to the last extremity, but when you have done so against a house, an individual, or people, be careful not to return there again, but go your way even as it is said.

By and by, when we get through this world, we shall have another sphere to act in. But, says the noble and proud to the world, “I care not for your washing of feet, or your testimony, because when I die I go into an eternal world, and there I will meet my God, and not you–He will be more merciful to me–I will have nothing to fear from you, for you will have no more power there than myself.” But when you go into the eternal world, if that same Elder who washed his feet against you in this, should be the only God you should ever see or find in the eternal world, then you meet with the rubbers again.

Now there are Lords many and Gods many, but unto us there is but one God, the great Father of all. When He says, “He that rejects you, rejects me,” the same importance is attached to your words as to His. What shall we do when we go into the eternal world, after we have labored and toiled in this for the cause of truth? We are to act upon our Priesthood still, for it is an everlasting Priesthood, without beginning of days or end of life. It lasts forever. What, lasts forever, and still have nothing to do, as some imagine! We have a great deal to do. When Brother Parley [22] was speaking on the condition of the spirits in the spirit world, about their being as dark and ignorant as they are here, I thought we should have plenty to do. These Spirit Rappers that communicate with mortals, are no doubt a grade of spirits that are as ignorant of celestial principles as the wild, degraded Indian. The spirit that raps can tell about somebody that comes within the circle of his knowledge; but what does he know about Jesus Christ, and the eternal plan of salvation, any more than these Indians? Upon this matter they are in the dark. Those men who hold the Priesthood will enter the abodes of those spirits, and make a proclamation of the Gospel to them, and I presume it will be something similar to Paul’s proclamation at Athens; the people of that city worshipped all the gods of the nations, and for fear there should be one whom they did not worship, they erected an altar to the “UNKNOWN GOD.” “Whom you ignorantly worship,” says Paul, “Him declare I unto you.”

Perhaps the very first proclamation of the Priesthood among those spirits who give spiritual communications to mortals, will draw forth a confession of their ignorance of the true God, and the principles of life and salvation; but you will go there to put them right, and declare to them the true God, the true principles of spiritual communication, to point out wherein their way of communication is not lawful; that there is but one eternal source to true and certain communication to the other world, and that is through Jesus Christ. You will tell them He has been upon our earth and visited their dominions long ago, and that He has sent you now to fill His track and set them right.

How was it at the time the Savior came on the earth? There were all kinds of spirits abroad ready to communicate; hence there were false teachers and false Christs. But the Savior of the world entered their dark abode and put them right; to redeem them, and have mercy and compassion on them. So when we go hence, we shall go into just such a place, into paradise, or the spirit world, to preach to them and regulate them. We shall know better about it when we get there; we shall understand our mission better.

[23]      When Brother Parley was preaching about the thief on the cross, who was ignorant of the principles of salvation (the Savior would not stop to preach to him when He was expiring upon the cross, but He postponed it until He got into the spirit world, and there He instructed). Someone whispered to me, I cannot tell who it was, “would it not be a good thing to send some of our thieves on a mission to take lessons in that school?” It would perhaps be a higher school than this; they might feel themselves exalted and elevated if they got into a higher class. [A voice in the stand, “There are no stray cattle to look after there.”] I expect stray cattle do not belong to that department. These matters are of moment and of vital importance to the Elders of Israel, and ought to rest with weight upon their minds.

I do not feel disposed to trespass further upon your time; I wanted to reiterate the remarks of the President. He has illustrated the matter, and made it so clear, that every eye may see it, and every heart understand. He knew what was necessary. He has not only given us a text, but preached the sermon also. I cannot make it any plainer, and it would darken counsel by words without knowledge, to attempt it.

I pray and beseech you to be awake to these things, and may God bless us, and save us all in His Kingdom. Amen. (Mill. Star, Sept. 3, 1853, pp. 577-581)


Nelly and Abby,

A Familiar Conversation Between Two Cousins,

On Marriage

Mill. Star, April 9, 1853

Nelly–Dear cousin Abby, I have been very anxious indeed to see you ever since I heard of the New Revelation. I know that nothing has ever come up yet in this Church, (unless it is now) that could stumble you. But I think now, when your John comes to get two or three more wives, you will feel as keenly as any of us; for I know that he has always been your idol; and to see him bestowing his affections upon others, as he has heretofore so exclusively done upon you; now, as sure as your name is Abby–but I [24] won’t say what you may do, because you can always command your feelings; but I really believe, that if my husband should provoke me in that way, he might get a salutation from the candle-stick or broom-stick, sooner than I would ever kiss him again! Why, really, if I must ever submit to see my husband promenading about with, well, George knows better than ever to undertake such a thing with me; but I was going to say, if one or two women for him that I could select, I’ll warrant that my George would learn to be content with his Nelly, ever after! Now, Abby, if wives don’t look out for themselves, who will look out for them? I would get the ugliest looking women that I could find; I wouldn’t much care if they were black, and if they were to throw the fire-poker at him sometimes. George knows that I love him dearly, but really I don’t see how you ever can submit to it, Abby!

Abby–Well, cousin Nelly, be assured that I am very glad to see you, though rather sorry to see your mind fluttered with the New Revelation! It is true, that I have never stumbled at any of the doctrines of this Church, because they all seem so pure and so well calculated to bless and unite all who will observe them in sincerity. Whenever anything is revealed for my faith to rest upon as an abiding principle of salvation, I always give it a prayerful and dispassionate consideration, knowing that GodÕs ways are not as ours, and the wisest ways of men are often very foolish compared with God’s.

Nelly–Yes, Abby, but what wisdom is there in my being tied to my George with a lot of other women, which can flatter and simper, and make him believe anything they please? And George can be flattered into almost anything, and I must bear it! There’s one thing I should like to have him know at once, and that is, I shall never work as I have done. I shall be supported like a lady; then, if he has got any surplus to bestow upon other wives–but I interrupted you in your remarks, Abby; but if you had slept as little as I have since I heard of this, Abby–well, go on and I will hear you.

Abby–I was about to say, cousin, that I consider prayerfully whatever God reveals, before I make any harsh or severe speeches, or grieve that Holy Spirit which will always both enlighten and comfort those who are meek [25] and lowly, and willing to learn of Christ. Now, cousin Nelly, to be plain, I do not know what right you have even to call George your husband, or that I have to call John my husband. What the Lord has not bound upon earth cannot be bound in heaven. I would not like to displease the only authority that can legally unite me to the man that I dearly love. Before I dare to set up an exclusive claim to John, who is to be Prince Regent, and heir apparent to several thrones and principalities, I would like to have my own marriage ratified and sealed, lest others should be sealed before me, and refuse to admit me into a matrimonial relationship with them.

Now if God is appointing His sons on the earth to fill thrones and occupy many principalities, and my husband means to be as worthy to fill thrones as others, then I will be content to share with him one throne, and rejoice at the same time to see others share with him other thrones, while my capacity will not allow me to share any more than my own. I know also, Nelly, that I appreciate a kind, intelligent, noble husband, that is ordained and anointed like unto Abraham, to be King over innumerable myriads of the human family, so highly, that I shall not make myself a widow or servant throughout all eternity by opposing what God has clearly revealed by all His Prophets since the world began. The consequence of my opposing the Patriarchal Order of Marriage would be the loss of my husband for all eternity. If this matter concerned us only for this life, it would then be a subject of some comparative indifference whether we are admitted to a family relationship or not, for our life is as a vapour that continueth for a little while and then vanisheth away. But dear cousin, the great question is this–will we unite with the plurality Order of Ancient Patriarchs, or will we consent voluntarily to be doomed to eternal celibacy? This is the true division of the question. One or the other we must choose. We cannot be married to our husbands for eternity without subscribing to the law that admits a plurality of wives. I know that you, Nelly, love your George, and I love my John, more than gold and silver, and all earthly treasures; and to lose all conjugal claims upon him or upon any other man whatever, is what I never can submit to while the present light of [26] eternity shines upon my mind. The promise to me of being the mother of an innumberable posterity of intelligent lives, will neither be lessened, impaired, nor delayed if my husband should take more wives. Consequently, it is my desire that he should bless other women even as he does me, if his doing so does not diminish the sum of my blessings.

Nelly–Let me interrupt you a moment, cousin Abby, before I forget the point that I wish to call up. Do you mean to say that a female cannot have any husband for the next world or for all the eternities to come unless she is agreeable to the same law of marriage by which Sarah and Rachel were governed?

Abby–Yes, cousin, I understand it in this light. The promise of God, to multiply Abraham, was made to all who should have true faith in Jesus Christ, in whatever period of the world they might live. And if any who were worthy of the promise made to Abraham, did not in this life receive wives and children, so that their generations can be seen, still the way is prepared so that they can receive a fulness of the same blessings. The order of plurality of wives is an everlasting and ceaseless order, designed to exalt the choicest men and women to the most superlative excellence, dominion, and glory. But I perceive the idea that is running in your mind, Nelly. You want to know if you cannot enjoy the society of your dear George as a husband in the eternal world, without allowing other females to share him with you?

Nelly–Yes, cousin, that is just what I want to know; you have expressed my idea better than I could myself, because the idea of not having my husband in all eternity is dreadful; I know that I could never submit to it! Never see my husband again while eternity wastes away! Darling George, bless him; I can hardly endure his absence for a month! If I did not love him, I should not think so much about it. And I believe that every wife that is not destitute of natural affection, and has a kind, good husband, must prize the conjugal state above all other society. And then our little Edward and Susan are so fond of their father, that I know we could never endure a separation for eternity. But why cannot I be married to him for eternity, and have him alone to myself?

[27]      Abby–I have thought very seriously of this question, cousin, as well as you; and what at first appeared to me as desirable to a wife, I must confess now seems to wear a different aspect. If your George and you should be alone by the side of such a king as Abraham or Solomon, with all his queens and their numerous servants and waiting maids in courtly livery, would he not look like a mere rushlight by the side of such suns, or rather would he be seen at all? I should almost fear that your George would be taken for a servant, and you for a waiting maid; or if they should, in the galaxy and splendour of 144,000 such suns as Solomon, happen to see you and your George with a king’s coronet upon his head, they might think him short of wedding garments, or that the selfishness of his wife had stinted his growth to such an insignificant, crab-tree size! Besides, a Queen to him that has his hundreds of wives in eternity, with children as numberless as the stars of heaven, would receive intelligence, wealth, honour, children, and dominion, in some measure proportioned to the exaltations of her husband and king; while your George, not having much to look after besides you, could not demand the same measure of wealth, honour, and dominion, because he could use upon you and your little family but a small pittance of what pertains to one moving in a wider and far more exalted sphere. Your intelligence, and that of your children, could not rise higher than the intelligence of your husband. Consequently you must see yourself and husband, and your children, continually outstripped in intelligence by all others around you. Your social circle must consequently be very limited at home. And your own offspring would not be as numerous. The motive which would lead you to retain your husband exclusively to yourself, would contribute to make you comparatively unfruitful, and also vitiate the mental and bodily faculties of your offspring, and sow the seeds of death and mortality in their systems. I have come to the conclusion, Nelly, that the one-wife system not only degenerates the human family, both physically and intellectually, but it is entirely incompatible with philosophical notions of immortality; it is a lure to temptation, and has always proved a curse to a people. Hence, I see the wisdom of God in not tolerating [28] any such system among the celestial worthies who are to be kings and queens unto God forever.

Nelly–What’s physically and intellectually?

Abby–Why, their bodies are not so well formed for health and long life, nor do their minds possess much sense.

Nelly–But what temptation is there in the one-wife system, more than in the other?

Abby–Why, even the beasts leave each other alone when there is not a prospect of increase. When God reveals the Patriarchal system of plurality to any people, He reveals it for their good, and for the blessing of both men and women; it is quite as great a blessing to the latter as to the former. And if they cannot abide that order, it shows conclusively that they cannot abide the purest and greatest blessings of eternity.

Nelly–Why, Abby, how is that? For I am sure that, if I know my heart, I can abide anything that is good. I desire to have any and every real blessing. But if George should get some women that are really undermining, and all honey to his face, it would be a queer mess; I must be altered some before I could see such things with patience.

Abby–Well, one subject at once; and if you wouldn’t mix up your feelings with your questions so much, I might answer your mind more distinctly perhaps. You say that you desire any and every blessing. The new Covenant is revealed in order to bless both men and women beyond what they otherwise could be blessed. When Jacob had many wives, he loved each of them more than he could have done any one of them that he might have had alone without the others. And his wives loved him and each other in the same ratio, and the tide and current of union and love among the whole family were stronger than they otherwise could be. For instance, Nelly, you and George, when constituted into a large family like that of Abraham, would enjoy a greater amount of intelligence, and a greater share of love also, than you possibly could in that single, contracted order which you seem to desire. One simple and irresistible reason is that God has determined to bestow His greatest blessings upon the liberal order, and only very stinted favours upon the narrow, contracted order which you seem to desire. In the [29] former order your children are all the lawful heirs of thrones and kingdoms, and in your favourite order they are only the heirs of servile inferiority.

Nelly–Well, I shouldn’t like to have my little darling Ned heir to anything very inferior. I would rather he would have a dozen wives than to be eternally a servant to somebody else. You know that Ned is as clever a boy of his age as any other, if his mother does say it. But do you mean to say, Abby, (to bring the matter right home) that if I am not married according to God’s order and approbation, before the resurrection, that I shall always have to remain single, and also be your servant, or the servant of someone that is married according to that order?

Abby–That is what God has most clearly revealed in many Scriptures. If God’s obedient sons and daughters are to be the reigning Kings and Queens over all people, and those only are permitted to propagate lives eternally who are thus married and ultimately crowned, then it follows, of course, that all others must obey their Rulers. And whom they obey, His servants they are!

Nelly–Well, I believe there may be some people who would sooner obey the very devil than bow to this order.

Abby–Yes, cousin, it may be that very many will be so foolish as to travel the broad road; but still, as the devils are all subject to God and His obedient sons, even then such as serve devils must be the servants of such as are crowned Kings and Queens, because devils are obliged to obey and tremble.

Nelly–You do beat all to prove your points! I wouldn’t like to have George hear your arguments, for I know that he would swallow them down like so much honey. But is there not anybody to be made Kings and Queens unto God over the earth but such as yield to this order?

Abby–I have already told you that no others will be made Rulers.

Nelly–I know that Kings and Queens rule over us here on the earth, and some of them are very cruel and hard-hearted, but I shouldn’t think that God would allow kings under Him to conduct in this way.

Abby–No, Nelly; for God has said, that he that ruleth over men must be just. And people will be much [30] better off in the next world, (even if they are the servants of such good rulers as Abraham, whose officers will be peace, and executors righteousness) than they now are in bondage to the rich and proud.

Nelly–Yes; if persons can’t pay up rent the very day it is due, they are turned off with all their little ones, and their furniture sold up to pay. It does nearly break my heart to see some families turned into the street barefoot, to beg or sing for what people may please to give them. And then, so many of them are almost obliged to take to bad ways. And I shouldn’t be very sorry to see some unfeeling masters have to change places with their servants long enough to see and feel the difference. You know that poor lass (and a sweeter beauty you never saw) whose father failed business and died, and her heart-broken mother went crazy, and the children were put out, and she went to service; and when the master couldn’t prevail upon her in any other way, he gave her chloroform, I think they call it, in order to stupify her, and now she is riding about in her silk velvet, wholly lost to all good society? There is no chance for a poor girl in these times. I wish all the factories were burnt down, but I ought not to say so. How few poor girls can keep a good character that go to them. But it is often the best they can do, after all. When I first heard of this New Revelation, I thought it was a cunning plan laid to make men and women conduct worse among themselves than they now do, if possible, and I snatched it out of George’s hand and threw it into the fire; for I have seen so much abomination of this kind, that I didn’t want my George to get in such a way as most married men do. I believe there is not another place in England as bad as this. Tell about a hundred thousand common ladies in London! my scratch, it is more difficult to tell who ain’t bad here, than it is to tell who is profligate. Then, to see what nice-looking females will drink and swear so! And I don’t blame the women near as much as I do the men. The men! They are the scamps, they have made women as bad as they are. Then, to hear these women sneer at the idea of nursing an infant, calling them brats, saying they had rather kill two of such troublesome snarling things than to raise up one of them. It would make your blood chill, [31] Abby, to hear their talk! Whether they have gotten so accustomed to murder the young innocents, or whether the men they associate with teach them these principles, I don’t know.

Abby–Why, Nelly, how do you learn that there is such profligacy and murder in this Christian land? I believe all that you say, and even more, and much worse; but how do you find out such things?

Nelly–Why you can’t walk the streets without finding out enough to make you ashamed to be seen abroad. But, Ramsey, that keeps a large shop in Park Square, near the Opera, whose best customers are of this sort of folks, tells his wife Susan, that is George’s sister you know, and she tells me. Now Ramsey, himself, has imbibed some very singular principles about these matters, and he is rarely at home with his own family, and much of his earnings are thrown away upon just such persons as we are speaking about. His wife Susan sees it, and she don’t hesitate to say that she would rather Ramsey had a half-dozen of virtuous wives, who could be fit for respectable women to associate with, and would be governed by the pure laws of heaven, after the example of Abraham and Jacob’s wives, than he should do as he does. But such company as he now keeps, makes him wholly unfit for domestic and social duties. And Susan says that she never wants to bring up a family that shall be obliged to witness their father’s example.

Abby–My dear cousin Nelly, I am very happy to see that you are so well apprised of the awful profligacy and sexual pollution that exist in this place; although the same complaint exists in all other places, for the whole earth is defiled. I hope you are sufficiently sensible that the Lord, by this New Revelation, is determined to save a chosen few, whose garments shall not be defiled, and who will keep themselves unspotted from the world. These few He will make rulers over the rest. For righteous rulers will make happy and peaceful subjects; but when the wicked rule, the people always mourn, and vile men walk on every side. And vile men are the leading cause that produces vile women the world over. And I believe it is generally admitted that the rulers, in these times, are often the fruitful sources of the very worst examples. For [32] oppression and avarice, and extravagant profligacy, gluttony and debauchery, they take the lead. And as long as this is the case, evil men and seducers will wax worse and worse. But you did not tell me what singular principles Ramsey had imbibed, which look so strange.

Nelly–Oh, I was just going to tell you. Ramsey believes that marriage is a mere human institution or device of men, and consequently that one man has as good a right to administer the ceremony of marriage as another has. And he says that a magistrate, while he may have a legal right, has no more moral right to marry persons than he has; and a priest that is not inspired directly from heaven, has no more right to officiate than a magistrate. In short, he thinks that all persons should be left to act in these matters for themselves, freely, as they would in any other bargain or traffic; and when they choose to dissolve partnership, they should be free to do so. He says that the magistrate or the parson has no more moral right to keep a woman that he calls his wife, than he (Ramsey) has to keep one that he calls his Dolly. He thinks that if one is prostitution, the other is also. And if there is any difference, the prostitution of the parson is the worst, because it is the most barefaced and unblushing, being a thing legalized without shame. Now I believe that both Ramsey and the parson are wrong, and that neither of them ought to take a wife without permission from God.

Abby–I perceive the ingenuity of your brother-in-law, Ramsey. There is much plausibility in his arguments. But the Scriptures tell us that God gives men their wives; and God takes them away from transgressors; and God punishes with death the man or woman that violates the marriage covenant; and those who will not conform to God’s order and law of marriage, He will judge. Ramsey’s doom will be no worse than that of the parson. But both are commanded to repent, or have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone forever.

Nelly–Cousin Abby, it cheers my heart truly, to hear that the law of marriage is so strictly guarded; and those who transgress it will be so severely punished. I am sure, that God will never give any man a wife who will not take good care to cherish and support her as he ought to do. And when husbands and wives know that God watches [33] their conduct, and for gross misbehavior and crime they are liable to lose their standing as wives or husbands, they will be very careful what they do. But it never came into my mind before now, that ministers and bishops, and those they call their wives, are really prostitutes just as much as those harlots who Christ said would enter into the Kingdom of Heaven, before the Scribes and Pharisees. I know that Ramsey has always justified his conduct by saying, the parsons were just as lewd in the sight of God as he is, and he would quit his adulteries when they would theirs. But I see now, that the priests can’t throw stones at Ramsey for his conduct, till they themselves repent and practice marriage according to the order of God. But do you think that the Lord would permit me and George to be united; we have always lived very happily together? Must we separate until we can be properly married?

Abby–God has instructed us to observe most sacredly our Gentile marriage until it can be confirmed in the Temple of the Lord. I do not know any reason why you should not have your choice of a husband; yet there may be some others that will take a great liking to your George, as well as you.

Nelly–O, George is too poor to think of taking anybody besides me.

Abby–It is true he cannot take any other in this land, nor even contract with another, but he is not poorer than Jacob was when a wandering stranger from his father’s house; Jacob had nothing but his staff in hand, and at that time the Lord visited him and promised him a very great family; and soon after, we see him with many wives and children, and sufficient property to support them all, and something to give away to his brother besides. He that increases the family will increase the substance that is required in order to support them.

Nelly–But I shouldn’t like for him to get other women and young girls that he would like better than me.

Abby–As to that, I suppose that young persons are not always as foxy rivals as older ones, but you have access to the fulness of the same fountain of grace that they have; but if, through your neglect, envy, or jealousy, and their greater diligence and humble obedience, they come into possession of qualities more winning, not they, [34] but you, should lose. The place that is given to you, can only be lost through your folly or neglect. That place that you now hold, and I would advise you to keep it. George is a good man, and that should content you; although he may be but a plain, humble man, yet if he really has the same sterling faith that Abraham had, he will be sure to exalt you in a time to come.

Nelly–I don’t need any caution about that. I shall be the last one that will forsake a man that I do know, for one that I don’t know so well. George don’t make so much show as some Elders, but I think that God must set a good store by him, if He knows him. There’s Elder Print flirting about with the sisters, and some of the sisters are just silly enough to think he is somebody. Didn’t you see how his eyes were roving about upon the congregation, like a hungry dog that would steal something? George says I ought not to have been looking, and I shouldn’t if I hadn’t heard something before. I never like to believe anybody is bad till I’m obliged to. If he ever saves one wife, it will be more than some think he will do. I should think if a man has one good wife like his, he should try to secure her confidence at home, before he undertakes to look after others, without the permission of God or His Prophet.

Abby–Yes, cousin, such a man takes the surest course to lose the one talent and precious treasure which he now possesses, by destroying his wife’s confidence in his obedience to the authority and laws of the Kingdom of God. For a man that will persist in violating the laws of God cannot save even one wife.

Nelly–But what will come of those sisters that are misled by such a man? They say that they have been taught to obey counsel!

Abby–That is very true; we should all obey counsel. But we should remember well and never forget that it is only the counsel of the Lord that will stand; any other is not counsel, but a device of wicked persons or of the devil.

Nelly–How then can the sisters know the difference always?

Abby–They always have a right to know the difference. If they are faithful, God has promised to show them the difference, and lead them into the truth by His Spirit.

[35]      Nelly–Does He really promise to do that? I do wish I could read the Scriptures as well as you can.

Abby–The Spirit is given to every one to profit withal. In the absence of proper authority, the Holy Spirit is the only teacher and comforter to show us how to act under all temptations. And this is an infallible guide. And what the Spirit dictates, is the counsel of the Lord, which we should always obey.

Nelly–Well, if George does take any others, I should like to have him take my sister, Ann, for her disposition is so obliging and mild. She is not near so hasty as I am; and if I have got to be so pure and good in order to have the favour of God and my husband, and if he should get some lass whose conduct would irritate me, then I should tell my feelings at once and afterwards be sorry for it.

Abby–This relation will inevitably lead you to be prayerful and watchful over your conduct; and you and your husband should unite your faith in the purest affection in those movements that will be designed to add to your family either wives or children. Otherwise, the Lord may give your George wives that will scorn him, as Michal did David; and children, too, that will be as wicked as were Ammon, Hophni, and Phineas. It is not every husband and wife that can regulate a large household, as could Abraham and Sarah. It was even after many years of experience and faithful trial before Abraham and Sarah were thoroughly qualified to control a large family of wives and concubines and children together, with servants and handmaids, amounting to some hundreds. If you wish to honour your George by giving him the delights of the sons of men, after the manner of holy women of old, don’t be in haste, but let the will of the Lord be manifest from a proper source, else you may do more injury to George than good.

Nelly–Oh, I shan’t be in any haste, if he ain’t, I warrant you; only Ann may be looking out for herself and engage herself to some other one.

Abby–Oh, there are many good men besides your George; and there are many choice girls besides your Ann, whom the Lord of heaven designs to make queens, who are now on the floor of poverty as much as the Virgin Mary ever was. They may generally be found in obscure places, [36] at service in mills and factories, and sometime in haunts of prostitution like Rahab.

Nelly–I wonder, Abby, why that should be, that the Lord should leave them in such low conditions to be thought so little of.

Abby–Why, cousin, the Lord will not leave them there, he only put them there in order that they might know by experience the evil from the good, and in the final day bear witness against their oppressors and seducers. Oh, no, He will not leave them in obscurity, where there is no eye to pity nor arm to save, but he will bring his daughters from the ends of the earth, and carry the lambs in his bosom. The Church, the bosom of Christ, will nourish them with the milk of kindness. The world don’t know them now, but they will know them when they are washed, and adorned, and beautified with embroidered work, and with pearls and glittering coronets, among the honourable women of the earth; and their feet shall scarcely touch the earth for delicateness.

Nelly–Why, Abby, I don’t wonder that females are so much in love with this Gospel. But do you think that females will be so much more polished and beautiful, and men so much more noble, like objects of worship, if they are faithful to their calling? Why I almost worship George now! I wish you would read me that chapter which tells about three men that were transfigured. You know that I can’t read; your father, being the oldest, had the property, and my father’s children have always had to work hard, and were unable to go to school. I want to know if my George, when he comes into his glory, will look as they did? He will forget me then, unless I am transfigured too. If our husbands, Abby, have such glorious bodies as Christ had when he was transfigured, and their faces shine like the sun, and their locks, and their cheeks, and their bright eyes are surrounded with milky whiteness–you know how it reads better than I do; it’s some time since I heard George read it. Won’t the men look so grand that they will feel above the women? George will forget me!

Abby–I think if you will pay more attention when it is read to you again, that you will find that men’s bodies are not made so beautiful and glorious until they are resurrected; and that Peter, James, and John, were allowed [37] to see what a beautiful change in their bodies they might expect in the resurrection, if they were faithful. I suppose that the Lord knew that they wouldn’t be suffered to live long here, and He wanted to comfort them by showing them that when they laid down their mortal bodies, they would not only have real bodies, faces and feet, and wear clothes again, but that their persons would be free from all blemish, and shine with a thousand fold more captivating lustre than they now do. Paul says, dear cousin, that there are bodies celestial, and bodies terrestrial, and the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another.

Nelly–Do you think that the wicked who don’t get any such handsome bodies, will know our husbands in the resurrection? It would look curious if wicked people hereafter should take our husbands to be angels or Gods, and want to bow down and worship them as though they were Gods. I think if George’s master ever thought of any such thing, he wouldn’t treat George so badly as he does.

Abby–I can’t say how well the wicked will know our husbands, when they have such glorious bodies as Jesus Christ now has, but I do know that one man looked so much better after his resurrection, that the Prophet John was desirous to worship him, until he told him who he was. And, Nelly, if you will ask George to read you a description of a good man’s righteous wives in Solomon’s inspired song, you will see that his three score Queens, and four score concubines, with their virgin daughters, were greater beauties than we should suppose could exist before they were transfigured by the power of the resurrection.

Nelly–Don’t you think that a great many men and women would join the Church if they only know of these things?

Abby–There will be an innumerable multitude besides, who will come to Mount Zion. But there will be a larger multitude who will come forth to shame and everlasting contempt. They will look very shabby by the side of those who shine as the brightness of the firmament.

Nelly–I am sorry I ever burnt that Revelation. I shouldn’t have done it for the world if I had known as much as I do now. Can’t George get another at Liverpool? [38] Don’t you think that the hundred thousand common girls of London would much rather have such husbands, and be themselves so exalted, than lead out their present miserable short lives as they do? And then, to be the mothers of such beauties as my little Susan and Ned! Come here Ned, you little Prince, bless you; there will be a good many as ready to worship you some day as I am to worship your father! I wonder how Gideon felt, with seventy such sons as my Ned! And then every faithful mother is to be blessed like Sarah and Rachel, as a mother of nations! And enough to support them, and wait before them too! I shall never say any more against this work, Ellen! And if they send George to the ends of the earth to preach this Gospel, without purse or scrip, I think I can bear it, and sing, “All is well.” But I wonder if there are not as many bad men in England as there are women? I suppose the men wouldn’t publish it if there were.

Abby–It is true the men might not like to see the facts that disgrace them put into print; yet, I think, Nelly, if any one will take up a late edition of geography, they will there find that the adult male population of Great Britain is carefully set down in figures. That tells the number of bad men, although, strictly speaking, a little too large, yet sufficiently accurate for round numbers. Why, Nelly, I always look at the Lord’s reckoning table, and that tells me that the whole earth has gone astray.

Nelly–Surely, dear Abby, if all the wicked men in Britain are to be destroyed by wars, pestilence, famine, and their own drunkenness and debaucheries, there will be but few men left, but I hope that we shall be moved away before that comes to pass. I expect that a great many more than seven will want to take hold of my George, when there are so few men and so many women! A man will be more precious than gold. You would be surprised, Abby, if you should hear Ramsey tell whom he has seen at those bad places where he visits–parsons, and even bishops, in disguise. But Ramsey wouldn’t expose them. He knows better, it would only throw him out of good employ. And the Bible says, it is our strength to keep still, or sit still, I don’t know which, because I can’t read. Some people thought that Mr. M. must be a very virtuous minister, who delivered a lecture in St. Paul’s Chapel [39] against polygamy and the pollution of our Church, but Ramsey tells a queer story on him. Ramsey having heard his lecture through, stopped in the door passage to see if Mr. M. would know him. Mr. M. affected not to know him till he came alongside, when he winked at Ramsey, and whispered in his ear, “Rams, you rascal, don’t you tell of me.” Now, this may be only Ramsey’s gammon, and I shouldn’t think that a parson would be such a hypocrite and profligate, if Christ hadn’t said that they were hypocrites, and like painted sepuchres, having a fair outside. Jesus Christ must know better than I do. But, I suppose it is a sure sign, when a minister lectures against the true Church, that he is a bad man. Well, it’s time I was going. I left Aunt Betty to take care of Susan, only for a few minutes, and she will think I have forgot myself. Do you know what offended Sister Hugall the other night?

Abby–I think that she must have been offended at herself more than anybody else. It appears that she and Elder Gamey had some conversation on this subject of marriage, in a little circle of brethren and sisters; and you know her thoughtless manner of speaking, according to the impulse of the moment, without considering how her expression would look in the consideration of others. Why she simply said that she required a husband wholly to herself, and she would tell Brigham Young so if he were there.

Nelly–Did Elder Gamey say anything?

Abby–No, nor did anyone speak any more. It was silent as heaven for several minutes; each one seemed to think–and hang their heads, daring neither to laugh nor to speak. At length Sister Hugall, not having where to hide her face, got up and shot out at the door, and went home without so much as putting a handkerchief on her head. Nelly–Well, I am glad that I wasn’t in her shoes that time. Good evening. (Mill. Star 15: 225-229, 241-244)


[40]                    Manufacturing and Independence

Brigham Young

April 10, 1853

General Conference, 2 p.m.:

If the world could look upon us in our present capacity, they would be constrained to say, “Surely Mormonism is a stumbling-block.” And true enough, it is a perfect stumbling-block to the world; and it is right it should be; it was ordained of old to be what it is.

I have a few remarks to make, touching our operations in the manufacture of sugar from the beet. I should have spoken of it yesterday, had it occurred to my mind. The machinery brought from England for that purpose, is now owned by the Church, and entirely under their control. We purpose to put it up this season, if the Lord will, in a good building, and prepare for making sugar in the fall.

We are making preparations for raising large quantities of sugar beets; and we wish the brethren generally to direct their attention to the same object more than they have heretofore, and cultivate the sugar beet extensively, taking great care not to adulterate it with other kinds. It is necessary also to raise it upon ground that is as free as possible from saleratus and salt. There is beet seed for sale in the Tithing Store. We intend to put up the sugar factory near the north line of the Church Farm, directly on this side of the bridge over Big Canyon Creek.

The erecting of a suitable building, and preparing the machinery for operation, is in the hands of Elder Orson Hyde, who will take the supervision of this work for the present. It forms a part of our public works. I, for one, however, would have been glad to have had other men engaged in the manufacture of sugar from the beet, and not have troubled us with it at all; but so it is in the all-wise Providence of God, and He does things right. We shall undertake the business and hope to be successful.

As to any doubt with regard to manufacturing sugar from the beet in these valleys, there is none in my mind; but we shall have the same difficulties to encounter that other colonies have had in their infancy. In establishing [41] a work of this kind in these isolated regions, we have not the facilities we could wish, touching experienced workmen. In New York, or in Liverpool, a proprietor of sugar works can send out word that he wants forty experienced hands, and in a short time there will be more than double that number seeking to be employed. This is one of the difficulties we have to encounter; but we shall never give up whatsoever we list to perform. The Lord guiding and directing us, we shall continue our operations, until we manufacture everything we wish to eat, drink, and wear, in the midst of these mountains; so that we shall not be under the necessity of going to any other place, in the whole earth, to get anything we wish to consume.

My face is set like a flint for this. I never expect to cease calculating, planning, and executing, until this people can organize from the native elements, everything they wish for life, for decoration, and for beauty, in their existence, upon this earth, preparatory to their being laid away in the silent grave, as the fathers and mothers of a free and independent nation, who in their life scorned to be depending slaves to any nation or people upon the earth.

There are also the feelings of this great people, of every man and woman who has the cause of Zion at heart. They calculate to operate, and continue to operate, with all the ability, skill, ingenuity and power that God pleases to bestow upon them, until they accomplish every laudable object on earth, and have made it like the garden of Eden; until they decorate it with vineyards, and orchards, and every kind of shrubbery, and beautiful, sweet scented flowers, and every kind of delicious fruit; until they have made everything that is necessary for comfort, for convenience, and for ornament, to decorate the persons of the Saints, and the palaces and temples of Zion. We calculate to continue our operations until we can make everything that ever has been made by any people, and then keep on operating until we make a great many things that never have been made.

We are in our infancy in the art of manufacturing, and we must creep before we can walk. In learning to walk, we may stumble and fall sometimes, but we will rise [42] again, and by degrees gain strength, and so increase in strength and wisdom, from year to year, until, like the child that has overcome the weakness of infancy, we can leap the bounds that were once impassable barriers, or take our course over rough and rugged places with ease and safety, or skip over a stream, make our way through the brush, and thread the labyrinths of the mountains and forests. This comparison will apply to this Church.

As a people we are of age according to the laws of the land, and we ought to feel the strength and exercise the wisdom of a man. This Church is in her twenty-fourth year. When she was about fourteen years old, she was requested to choose a guardian, but she did not see fit to make choice of the person who wished to become her guardian–choosing rather to live guardianless, until of age.

Now brethren, we have had a good Conference. I do not know that we have ever enjoyed a better. We have a comfortable house to meet in, where we are secure from the rains and storms from which we suffered in the old Bowery, and when we were obliged to transact our business in the open air. Before this building was erected, I told the Lord, if it was His will, and His people would come up to His help, we would have a building to meet in, that would shield us from the falling weather, in which we could do our business comfortably, and tell the devil to blow away outside, and ask no odds of him. We have had very pleasant and beautiful weather during the Conference; and a good spirit has reigned, if I may judge. There has been much said of importance to this people, and you will see the increased fire that has been kindled here, spread in all directions, like the sparks from the blacksmith’s anvil.

We know the Gospel we preach is a stumbling-block to the world; and so was Joseph Smith in his life-time. If this had not been prophesied by holy men of ancient times, some of us might have wondered why it should be so. It, however, is so in the wise economy of God.

Brethren and sisters, I feel in my soul continually to say, may God bless you every moment of your lives. My soul blesses this people, while at the same time it is wounded when they do wrong. Why not live in peace with each other, and love the Lord our God with all our hearts? [43] What hinders us from doing this? Why should we ever have another difficulty in our society? Why should there ever be another wrong word or feeling in our families? There is no necessity for any man or woman to do wrong again all the days of their lives. Let us guard ourselves against our weaknesses, that we be not overcome with the adversary any more. Let trials and temptations come; they will not hurt you if you retain the Spirit of the Lord in your bosoms, which makes a Zion for you in your own heart. If you want to make Zion in your families, and be happy in your homes, you must retain the Spirit of the Lord in your own hearts; and let it be the first and the last, the Alpha and Omega of your lives. Then you have Zion; and the little difficulties, losses, crosses, and changing scenes of this mortal life will not disturb the equanimity of your lives; but they will appear frivolous things, things of no moment. But if you calculate to cling to the world, and expect somebody else to make your heaven for you, if a woman expects her husband to make a heaven for her, you will never get a heaven.

Elders of Israel, if you wish to get a good name in this Kingdom you must live for it. If you wish to wield an influence in the midst of this people, you must order your lives and conduct, before God and the people, so as to gain it. No person can give another influence and power in this Kingdom. Joseph Smith could not give it to me if he was now living, if I was not worthy of it, if I did not conduct myself in a manner to secure it. If we live to the glory of our Father in Heaven, and with all our might try to build up Zion, and gather Israel, and fill the earth with the knowledge of God, influence is given to us, it is an honor bestowed upon us by the Lord, and our wisdom is increased daily. If you do not believe it, fetch on the wise men of the east, and of the west, of the north, the south–the wise men of all nations, who are instructed in all the learning and wisdom of the world, and our native boys can instruct them in the mysteries of God’s Kingdom.

We have been trained in the old snag ship, that was made on purpose to clear snags out of every harbor it entered. Fetch all your wise men, and we will teach them wisdom, and the tongues of babes shall unfold knowledge to rulers. The path before us is straight and plain to walk [44] in. Let every man and woman who purpose to be Latter-day Saints indeed, be of one heart, and their path through life will be easy. But if you are not one, you will have to travel the road in sorrow, your minds will be dark, and you will not know your own minds, nor have confidence in your God. But if you are of one heart and of one mind, the burden will be light, and the yoke will lie easy upon your necks. If men undertake to wear the yoke of Christ, and have not the Spirit of Christ, it will gall them so that they will run to the gold mines, they will cast it off, they cannot endure it.

In the summer season, our meetings will commence at ten o’clock, a.m., and at two o’clock, p.m., which is our Sacrament meeting.

This Conference will now adjourn to the 6th of October next; but we shall appoint a Special Conference to convene on the Second Saturday in August next, at ten o’clock, a.m., at this place, to transact business, and appoint foreign missionaries, who can leave before the winter sets in. We shall wish them to leave this valley in September.

I trust we shall live to enjoy many Conferences together, before we are called hence to resume our work in another state. Brethren and sisters, inasmuch as it is my right and privilege, I bless everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ. My heart is full of blessings for every creature of God upon the face of His footstool. I wish no man evil, but my heart breathes blessings upon the whole human family; and as God gives me wisdom, I hope to measure it out in doing good to them, from this time, henceforth and forever. This is all I desire to live for.

May God bless you. Amen. (Mill. Star, 16:673-675; DNW 4:67)


The Coming Crisis–How to Meet It

April 30, 1853

Millennial Star

A great and awful crisis is at hand–such a crisis was never known before since the foundation of the world. All nations are looking through the misty future, in order to descry, if possible, what is about to happen. Many [45] sermons have been preached, many speeches have been made, and some pamphlets have been published, with the hope of lifting up the veil of the future. Yet none but the servants of God who have the testimony of Jesus, which is the spirit of prophecy, can unfold the mysteries of the future. They can give the trump a certain sound, and their counsel will not be guess work. God will do nothing except He reveal His secrets to His servants the Prophets. God, the Lord God of Israel, will take the control of these great events which are shortly to come to pass. Not a sparrow will fall to the ground without His notice. But His servants will be fully advised of every important event that is to transpire. They will be the heralds of blessings and also of vengeance. For the Lord hath a controversy with all nations, and the hour of recompense is at hand. But, says the reader, I would like to know of what this crisis is to consist! Who are the contesting parties? Well, reader, if you will be patient and honest-hearted, praying withal, with unceasing diligence and thanksgiving to God, you shall have the keys of such knowledge as all the sectarian priests of Christendom are by no means able to reveal, because they are only revealed to God’s servants, the Prophets. Perhaps you will be disappointed, if I tell you that the time is coming, and now is, when, not only God, the Highest of all, shall be revealed in spirit and in mighty power, but the Devil or Satan also, will be revealed in signs and wonders, and in mighty deeds! This, reader, is the great key to all the marvelous events that are to transpire shortly upon the earth.

Now just stop right here, and pause, and mark emphatically this key. Then you and I will proceed to unlock the mysteries and to prepare ourselves to the battle. For there will be no neutrals in the approaching controversy. I say again, that God the Highest of all will make bare His arm in the eyes of all nations. And the heavens even will be rent, and the lighting down of His power will be felt by all nations. But this is not all. Satan also will be revealed. He has made some manifestations of his power in different periods of the world, but never before has there been such an array of numbers on his side, never before such a consolidation of armies and rulers, never before has there been such an imposing and [46] overwhelming exhibition of miracles as Satan will shortly make manifest. Don’t suppose for a moment, that I am uttering dark sayings or speaking unadvisedly upon speculation or the strength of mere human opinion. Don’t tell me about Popes and Prelates sitting in the temple of God as God. One far greater than any Pope or Prelate is soon to be revealed, and he will claim to be worshipped as God. Now remember, that it is no modern wicked man that is going to claim divine honours. No, it is that old Serpent, the Devil. He it is that will head the opposition against God and His Christ. And he, the son of perdition it is, that will be allowed a much longer chain than heretofore. And such will be the greatness of his power, that it will seem to many that he is entirely loose. He will be so far unshackled and unchained that his power will deceive all nations, even the world. And the elect will barely escape the power of his sorceries, enchantments, and miracles! And even God, Himself, the true God, will contribute to put means and instruments in his way and at hand for his use, so that he can have a full trial of his strength and cunning, with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish.

It is not to be expected that Satan will carry on his great warfare against Christ and His Saints, by means of any one religion exclusively. It is not the Papal or Protestant religion alone that you have need to fear, but the great and abominable Church which you should expect to encounter is Anti-Christ. Whatever exalts and opposses itself to God, that is Anti-Christ, whether it is a civil or religious power. But the most formidable power that will be arrayed against Christ and His Saints in the last days, will consist in the revelations of Satan. These revelations of Satan will come through every medium and channel by which the cunning and power of Satan can be brought to bear against the Saints and their Lord. It is a great mistake to suppose that Satan is altogether a religious personage. No, far from this. He is a politician, a philosopher, an erudite scholar, a linguist, a meta-physician, a military commander, a prince, a god, a necromancer, an enchanter, a diviner, a magician, a sorcerer, a prophet, and (if it were not railing) a clergy man and liar from the beginning. With these universal [47] endowments, he has never hitherto made a full and grand exhibition of himself, as it remains for him to do. But the Lord, who gave him an opportunity to try his battery upon good old Job, is fully designing to give him sufficient apparatus to deceive all the nations that love not the truth, and have pleasure in unrighteousness. His signs and tokens are as ancient as the apostacy of Cain, and as varied as will suit the secret designs of all ages. Through him men learn how to become “observers of times and seasons,” with great skill and astonishing accuracy. He presides over the arts of astrology, clairvoyance, mesmerism, electrobiology, and all auguries and divinations. Being Prince of the power of the air, he understands aeronautic and steam navigation, and he can compose and combine the various elements, through the cooperation of them that believe in him, with far more than human skill. Now don’t doubt what I say concerning this matter, but rather read the history of his skillful exploits and his mighty power, as they are recorded in the Old and New Testaments. Take a Bible and Concordance, (if you have any faith in the Bible, left, in an age when the Bible is perverted beyond all other books,) and read attentively for yourselves, and you will there learn that I am telling you the truth.

Now there is a greater destruction coming upon the wicked nations of the earth, than was even experienced by Pharaoh at the Red Sea. But before that destruction can be made manifest, mens’ hearts will be hardened, and wickedness will rise to a more over-towering height than many bye-gone generations have been allowed to witness. God, through His Prophet, will roar out of Zion. His voice will be heard in spite of all the confusion and indignant opposition from many nations. After the testimony of His servants has been proclaimed to all nations, as a witness, then shall the scene of the end come. And great shall be that scene. The Devil in the last stage of desperation, will take such a pre-eminent lead in literature, politics, philosophy, and religion; in wars, famines, pestilences, earthquakes, thunderings and lightnings, setting cities in conflagration, &c, that mighty kings and powerful nations will be constrained to fall down and worship men. And they will marvel at his great power, and wonder after him [48] with great astonishment. For his signs and wonders will be among all nations. Men will be raised for the express purpose of furthering the designs and marvelous works of the devil. Every description of curious and mysterious arts that penetrate beyond the common pale of human sagacity and wisdom, will be studied and practiced beyond what has been known by mere mortals. The great capabilities of the elements of fire, air, earth, and water, will be brought into requisition by cunning men under the superior cunning of the prince and god of this world. And, inflated with the knowledge of these wonderful arts and powers, men will become boasters, heady, high-minded, proud, and despisers of that which is good. But the God who is above all, and over all, and who ruleth in the armies of heaven, and amongst the inhabitants of the earth, will not be a silent observer of such spiritual wickedness in high places, and among the rulers of the darkness of this world. For the master spirits of wickedness of all ages, and of worlds visible and invisible, will be arrayed in the rebellious ranks before the closing scene shall transpire. Now just at this time, God will come out of His hiding place and vex the nations in His hot displeasure. By the mouth of His Prophet He will rebuke strong nations afar off, notwithstanding their strong armies and great miracles, and cunning arts. His servant, the Prophet, in Zion will have a marvellous boldness to rebuke them, and to lay down before them in plainness and inflexible firmness the law of the Lord. As Moses laid down the law to Pharaoh, and continued to multiply evils and judgments until he made an utter end of Pharaoh and the Egyptians, even so will the living God prescribe the line of conduct to be pursued, and the penalties of violation, to great and mighty nations, until they rally around the ensign established upon the mountains, and go up to the house of the God of Jacob to learn His ways, or are utterly overwhelmed in keen anguish and ruin.

The ways of the God of Jacob are easily recognized in these days of general wickedness. It is true, that they are clearly revealed in the Scriptures of truth, and by a living Priesthood of inspired men, yet they have been so long and so grossly perverted by the precepts and opinions of a hireling ministry, that doubts and contentions have [49] sprung up in every land, and the plainest and simplest truths are denied, abrogated, or accounted obsolete. God is not allowed to speak from the heavens by the mouths of Prophets as in former days. Notwithstanding there is much preaching and praying, still there is a virtual acknowledgment amongst all nations that God, as He was known unto the Patriarchs and Prophets of old, has forsaken the earth. And men are left to discover the way to heaven by the light of nature, or the misty nebulae of a hireling Priesthood. And it is a fact undeniable, that infidels in the school of nature have more true piety towards the living God, than the hireling ministry of Christendom have. Hence priests are doing so much, often unwittingly, to blind the eyes of the people, so that they shall not see the approaching crisis in its true character until the catastrophe is completed, and Great Babylon and all her lofty cities, great wealth, princely merchants, chief captains, and mighty sovereigns, are laid low in one general ruin. Oh ye great and strong nations! ye philosophers and religionists! ye spiritual mediums and ye revelators, sitting upon thrones over great nations! how can you fulfil the prophecies that are so clearly revealed, concerning the destructions of the last days? Ye perhaps marvel that the great men and governors over one hundred and twenty-seven provinces in ancient Babylon, with a brave monarch at their head, should have been such firm believers in the astrologers, magicians, and interpreters of dreams, in their days! But marvel not, for when the greater power of the like class of persons, under the direction of Satan, shall be brought to bear in your own day, the delusion will be so much stronger, that Princes, Presidents, Governors, and chief Captains will be constrained to bow to it. Their credulity will be taxed beyond the power of resistance. The workers of these mysterious and supernatural arts will bring to their aid both natural and supernatural causes that will challenge and defy disputation. The senses and judgment of men cannot withstand such imperative facts as will arrest their observation. For it cannot be denied that facts and truths will constitute such a measure of the ingredients of these mysterious and wonderful arts as to give them an irresistible strength of conviction to those who are [50] unenlightened by the Spirit of God. And so far as facts and truth are mingled, it must also be acknowledged that God, the true and living Sovereign of heaven and earth, will contribute to produce the delusion. He has said that “He will send them strong delusions that they might believe a lie.” He gives his reason and apology for acting after this strange manner–because knowing the truth, they do not love it unadulterated. And knowing God, they do not choose to glorify Him as God. Therefore their foolish hearts become darkened, and God suffers Satan to compound and mix up truth and error in such proportions as to be captivating and strongly delusive. As a snare, this composition will be ingeniously mixed and administered to all nations, by skillful and practiced hands.

And who shall be able to withstand? Do you think that your great sagacity and the compass of your profound, philosophical turn of mind will enable you to detect the error and delusion of these arts? Oh, man, this is a vain hope. Your mind will not be competent to detect the delusion. God Himself will allow Satan to ply your scrutinizing eye with powers and sophistications far beyond your capacity to detect. Do you say then, I will shun all acquaintance with these mysterious workings, in order that I may not be carried away with their delusive influence. Vain hope. Oh man, you cannot be neutral. You must choose your side and put on your armour. Those that come not up to the help of the Lord in the day of battle, will be sorely cursed. The captive Hebrew, Daniel, stood up boldly against all the governors and whole realm of Babylon with their monarch at their head. But Daniel readily acknowledged that it was not from any wisdom in him, above other men, that he could surpass the astrologers and magicians. But holding intercourse with the God of heaven, he became endowed with a supernatural comprehension that effectually shielded him against supernatural delusion. Thereby he escaped the snare that entwined around the great statesmen and governors of that immense empire of Babylon. Thereby those who take refuge in the name of the Lord and in immediate revelation from heaven, will be safe, and no others. He that is not for God and the principle of immediate revelation, will inevitably be ensnared, overcome, and [51] destroyed. Because he that is not for Him must be against Him. No man in any age was ever for God, or even a friend of God, that did not hold intercourse with Him personally, and receive for himself the revelations of His will. The rock of revelation, by which Peter knew Jesus Christ, is the only basis upon which any man can escape the strong delusion which God will send among the nations, through Satan and his mediums and coadjutors. Reader, if you live long, you will be compelled to take a side for God or for Satan. Satan was allowed to try a compulsory process upon as good a man as Job. The whirlwind and tempestuous elements, with disease and death, were put into Satan’s hand that he might compel Job to abandon his integrity. Had not Job possessed the key of revelation from God, he would have been compelled to have made peace with Satan, and forsaken the Lord. His wife urged him to do so–says she, “Curse God and die;” or, in otherwords, take the side of Satan against God. Now reader, if you have ships of precious merchandise, floating at sea, the time is fast coming when Satan will destroy those ships, unless you bow down to his power and become a cooperator with him. And if you do bow down to him, to work wickedness and say, no eye seeth me–then God will destroy those ships and you, too, and peradventure He will destroy your family also, and make a clean end of you, and blot out your name under heaven. Your beautiful mansion and flourishing family still have to be consecrated to God or to Satan, whichever you may choose. The controversy is begun and the war will never end till the victory is complete and universal, and there shall not be found so much as a dog to move his tongue against the Lord, and the immediate revelations of His will. Your being a minister of some Church, will not serve as the least testimony of the true and living God made known to you personally. For the time has come that God will write His law upon every man’s heart, that will receive it, not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God. And against him that hath this law, the gates of hell never have prevailed and never will prevail. Heaven and earth shall pass away before a jot of this law shall be made to succumb to wicked men or devils. The heavens have been shaken once when angels rebelled, and they are destined [52] to another shaking even with the earth. Do you say you don’t need any more revelation from God? Then the Devil will be allowed to give you some which you don’t need. And by the time that he has revealed himself to you, and buffeted you, and trained you under his rigorous discipline to fight in this awful crisis against the heavens, peradventure you will not then feel so rich and increased in goods, but that you can take a little counsel from the Lord, and feel a little of your extreme poverty and destitution.

You cannot know God without present revelation. Did you ever think of this most solemn and essential truth before? You may have been accustomed to pray, all your life time, and as yet you, even you, do not know God. You may have heard many thousand sermons, with a sincere desire both to remember and practice them, and yet you do not know God. But it has been decided in the court of heaven, that no man can know the Father but the Son, and he to whom the Son revealeth Him. Now, has Jesus Christ ever revealed God the Father to you, dear reader? Be honest with yourself and do not err in your answer to this most important question. However much the Son may have revealed the Father to the Prophets, Patriarchs, and Apostles of old, the question still remains in full force–has He revealed Him to you? A revelation to another man is by no means a revelation to you. For instance, God revealed Himself to Samuel, and called him by name to be a Prophet. But the call to Samuel is by no means a call to you to be a Prophet. God called Abraham to kill Isaac, but that is no revelation to you to kill your son. God revealed the baptism of repentance unto John the Baptist, before Christ’s death, but that is not a revelation to you. He revealed authority to Paul to preach to the Gentiles, but what was told to Paul is not told to you, nor is it required of you. Again, you need the righteousness of God, to go where God is, and be happy–and how will you get it except it is revealed to you personally? You cannot get it in any other way. Hence the Lord says, “The righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith.” Don’t say now, as some do, that revelation was anciently given in order to establish the truth, and being once established it is no longer necessary to be revealed to subsequent generations of people. Don’t say this for your [53] life, for revelation is just as necessary to establish truth now as it was then. You need the ministry of angels now, just as much as people did then. They in past ages could not know God, nor say for a certainty, from personal knowledge, that Jesus Christ was the Christ, only by the Holy Ghost–and you are just as weak and dependent as they were. You most assuredly cannot call Jesus, Lord, only by the Holy Ghost. If the Holy Ghost is confirmed upon you, by the imposition of the hands of the true Priesthood, then you can know God for yourself. Why? Because the Holy Ghost teaches all things, even the deep things of God. This generation needs present revelations from heaven, as much as any other generation ever did, because they are quite as wicked as Sodom ever was. They practice as gross sensuality and beastliness, as glaring robbery and murder, as much treachery and lying, and are as ardent for war and blood-guiltiness, as ever the ancient Canaanites were. And among the many religions that have sprung up, calculated to confuse people’s minds, there is, now, as much jargon and schism, contention and strife, and persecuting zeal, as there ever was before. Now, reader, you need present revelation from God to your own dear self, in order to help you out of this nasty, confused labyrinth, and to set your feet firmly upon the solid rock of revelation. Mere flesh and blood cannot help you now. It requires an Almighty arm to effect your deliverance. Therefore, put no more trust in man, for a curse rests upon him that will be guided by the precepts of man. I do not ask you to be guided by what I say to you, unless the Lord from heaven shall reveal to you that I speak the truth, even as it is in Christ. Although I know that I am declaring heaven’s truth to you, in all sobriety, yet, my knowing it, does not suffice for you. You also must know it for yourself, and not for another. This is your right and your privilege. For God has made this promise to you, and not to you, reader, only, but to all others whom He calls to repentance. Now, go and get revelation for yourself. If you are penitently desirous with all your heart to get revelation from God to your own self, go to some one whom God has called and ordained to confer the Gift of the Holy Ghost upon men, according to His promise in the Acts of the Apostles, and I promise you in the name of [54] Jesus Christ, whose I am both by covenant and by sacrifice, that you shall have the desire of your heart. Even so. Amen.

Reader, be resolute! This is a critical and trying moment with you. And this is God’s call unto you. Don’t refuse when He calls you! And if you are honestly, without prejudice, meditating upon what you now read, then God’s Spirit is sweetly persuading you to believe what I say. The faint dawn of the Spirit is even now upon your mind. Now, reader, cherish this little dawn of light until the day-light of more truth shines more clearly upon your mind. Pray mightily for the Spirit of Revelation to rest upon you, that you may know the things that are freely given to you of God. And follow the Spirit of revelation, as fast as you receive its whisperings, down into the water where Jesus went, for the remission of your sins, and you will very soon become a witness to the truth, and put your own seal upon it even as I have done. And you will not barely believe, and hope, and fear, but you will know, from present and personal revelation, that the Lord is a God at hand, revealing Himself as freely as He ever did in Patriarchal days. Will you not, then, be a happy man, O reader! And you a happy woman, O reader, to come into possession of the same gift of present revelation from heaven, that holy men and holy women enjoyed in ancient times? Yes, I know you will. You will then feel deep pity and sorrow for any one that says he doesn’t need present revelation! You will then discover the pride of such an one’s heart, and mourn over him as one that is blinded by the god of this world. But your peace will be great and your joy unspeakable. Although you can hardly believe me now, yet through your faithfulness, the Spirit of prophecy will in due time rest even upon you, O man! And also upon you, O woman! The Spirit of prophecy has rested upon many sons and daughters in as humble walks of life as you are, and they according to “promise” have prophesied and dreamed dreams. Now when this promise is fulfilled in your experience, you will feel very glad and very happy. And you will feel thankful that you ever read this article with a humble, prayerful heart. And when you see the promised signs following your faith, as thousands have done in this day, then you will exclaim, “Surely this [55] is not merely the form, but also the power of godliness–this kind of Gospel is in very deed the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth!” And then if you have money, which so many worship, you will not be afraid to give a tenth to rear up a Temple like Solomon’s, in which God will place the ark of His covenant, and reveal His will, through His servants the Prophets, for the benefit of all the ends of the earth. When you yourself have the promised gift of discerning of spirits, then you will not have to ask your neighbour, who is an impostor and who is not–you will know from the fountain head all about it just as well as the next person. He that is spiritual judgeth all things. Many things are hard to be understood and reconciled, which the unstable and unlearned stumble at, even as formerly–he that is spiritual can easily judge all things, but he that is not spiritual can judge nothing correctly, for he is blind, and he cannot see afar off.

And further, when you see also the gross and beastly sexual abominations that are practiced and are increasing among all nations, without shame or fear, you will not marvel that God is determined to raise up a righteous seed and glorious branch, by re-establishing the Patriarchal Order, as in the days of Abraham, Jacob, David, Solomon, and Elkanah. Neither will you marvel, while the Spirit of God is upon you, that men and even women should sneer at the sacred institution of marriage being an institution wholly under the control of God, as it was in the days of Abraham. Why should you not marvel at their sneers? Because, we have been distinctly and emphatically fore-warned that in the last days there shall arise scoffers, wailing after their own hearts’ lusts, who shall speak evil of dignities and things that they know not, having men’s persons in admiration because of gain. You would have more cause to marvel and disbelieve the Scriptures of truth, if sensual men and women did not speak evil of the Patriarchal Order of marriage, and of men that conform to the pure sanction and penal restrictions of that most Holy Order.

Now there are several ways in which the pure and obedient get revelations. It will be your privilege in due time to become acquainted with these various ways. One way is through the inspiration of the Spirit. The Spirit is [56] given to every man to profit withal. All men have such a measure of the Holy Spirit as to enable them to make a profitable use of the light and opportunities that they have, and to obey the law under which they are placed. All the different methods of revelation are not probably given to all men now. God dispenseth His gifts severally as He will. The inspiration of the Almighty giveth understanding. Every various method of immediate revelation, however, always accords with the inspiration of the Spirit. If an holy angel talk with a man, what the angel speaks accords with the inspiration of the Spirit. If the Urim and Thummim is consulted, it accords with the teachings of the Holy Spirit. An open vision or dream, each accords with the inspiration of the Holy Ghost. Now one mark of a dream from God is that it is distinguished for the clearness and simplicity of the impress that it makes upon the mind of him that dreams. A dream from the Lord being always true in all its legitimate bearings, will be so disembarrassed for error and uncertainty to him that has the Spirit of truth in lively exercise, that he will know it perfectly in distinction from all false hallucinations or deceptions of the mind. Reader, take your Bible and read the Bible account of dreams. There you will see that dreams from the Lord, for any important end, are plainly distinguishable from all deceptive influences. When Jacob went toward Haran and lay upon his stone pillow, and dreamed of seeing a ladder reaching up to heaven, &c, after he awoke, he knew, beyond a doubt, that the dream was from God. Hence he says, “How terrible is this place, &c. When Laban wanted to cheat Jacob out of his just wages, the Lord appeared to Jacob in a night dream, and told him how to increase the number of his cattle, so that he could get the advantage of the cheating employer. Jacob understood the dream perfectly, and so managed as to have the best of the increase fall to his share. When Joseph told the simple dream of the sheaves, his brothers all understood it well. And when he told the dream of the sun, moon, and eleven stars bowing down to him, his father Jacob felt the force of the meaning, although he rebuked Joseph. When God gives a dream to a wicked man, He makes him fully to understand it, unless he wishes to hide the meaning from him. Abimelech [57] understood his two dreams from the Lord, concerning Sarah, Abraham’s wife. The Lord gave Solomon wisdom, and riches, and dominion, in a dream, and yet Solomon knew the import of the dream, and that the Lord had appeared to him in that dream. The Lord does not suffer wicked spirits to foul and blot and mar a dream, when He wants to communicate His mind and will in a dream. For spirits are rebuked and commanded to depart when God wants to invite the truth upon any one’s mind. The angel of God guards the dreamer till a clear and distinct impression is made. And that impression is of an unmistakable character; it cannot be misunderstood, any more than the light of the sun can be mistaken for the darkness of midnight. An open vision is another method of revelation. David saw an angel of the Lord with a drawn sword, even the pestilence, standing between the heavens and earth. The Prophet having prayed that the eyes of his servant might be opened, showed him that the armies of heaven were more numerous than the host of his enemies. Another method of revelation is through the ministry of angels. An angel forewarned Lot to leave Sodom. Angels gave the Law to Moses upon Mount Sinai. An angel opened a great iron gate that liberated the Apostle Peter. Again, God reveals things by Urim and Thummim, and by burnt offerings, and by divers tongues, &c.

Now, reader, I entreat you to seek the aid of present revelations from God. You need them just as much as any poor creature ever did that has been born into the world. Without them you never can know God, worlds without end. Don’t flatter yourself that because others know God or have formerly known Him, you are any better off on that account, unless you know Him for yourself.

Are you poor and oppressed? Then you have the greatest need to receive revelations from God. There are very many poor people in these days and in these lands. Even in England, rich men oppress you, and many cheat you, and defraud you, and keep back your merited wages–and you, who do the greatest part of the work that is done in the land, can hardly get an honest living, while your masters roll in pomp, and fare sumptuously every day. I have seen you and your little sons and tender daughters, hurrying off early in the morning to work for them, and [58] returning late at night, poorly fed and poorly clothed often. And all the time that you are making others rich, they are keeping you in poverty and ignorance. And your daughters are often insulted and sometimes seduced by masters, and you are threatened with the workhouse if you don’t grind for the oppressor, and you have but little time to see your own families, and bless them with comforts, and educate and train them up for usefulness and salvation. Now, if you knew how to take counsel from the God of heaven, as Jacob did, you would not have to submit always to such fraud and oppression. But God would help you out of your many difficulties, and your enemies could not help themselves. God has seen your afflictions, and has sent forth His servants to all nations, to preach deliverance, for the acceptable year of the Lord has now come.

And ye rich men, the Voice is to You. Gather up the poor and bless them, and your riches shall not waste, but increase four fold, and great shall be your reward in heaven. But blessed are the poor who shall obtain the gifts of revelation for themselves, for they shall rejoice greatly in the Holy One of Israel. For not many rich, not many noble, will be humble enough to seek revelations from God. But beware of the counsel of any priests or ministers who are hired and paid for preaching. God never hired any man to preach, nor did He ever authorize any man to hire himself out to preach for wages. Therefore beware of all such, lest they deceive you. Go not after them, neither listen to them for a moment, for they are confederate with rich men and oppressors, and they are despisers of present revelation, and consequently they neither know God themselves, nor are they willing that others should know Him. And vengeance will shortly overtake all that know not God, and obey not the Gospel. (Mill. Star 15:273-276, 289-292)


[59]                          Angels and Agency

Brigham Young, June 26, 1853

(recorded by Joseph Lee Robinson)

I with a portion of my family attended meeting at the Tabernacle in Salt Lake City and heard Elder O. Hyde and Pres. Brigham Young preach upon the subject of angels being our guardian spirits, proving from the scriptures the importance of their mission, and also the great and mighty part they have to take in the great work of the last days, even the marvelous work and a wonder that God our Heavenly Father is performing and that the Latter-day Saints are engaged in, and have embraced, and are accused of being the authors of, but it is God’s work; He is the great author of what is called Mormonism. He is responsible, and there are myriads of angels also which are very deeply interested in this Latter-day work. They certainly will act well their part in the great drama, doing all in their power to bring to pass the restoration of the House of Israel, even God’s elect, and the fulfilling of all the promises of God, and the predictions of the Holy prophets. They have their mission to perform; they will have as it were the bulk of the burden to bear. Then how thankful we ought to be, as servants of the most High God, how we the Elders of Israel ought to be encouraged, to press on, not to get rich, but to build up the Kingdom of God on the earth, realizing that all depends upon the Kingdom of God being established on this earth; if that is not accomplished, then surely there will be no riches, honor, power, glory and happiness for us, the Latter-day Saints, hereafter, for surely there is not a son or daughter of Zion, on this earth, but there are angels, which are charged to watch over them; and there never was a prophet, or any important event transpired on this earth, but there were angels sent to instruct, regulate and prepare them for their work, and to bring the necessary intelligence with regard to that event; and now with regards to the agency of men, God has made man a free agent. He has given unto him power to choose and to refuse. He can perform a work that shall be meritorious. He may and can earn an inheritance in the Kingdom of God. The power is with him if he will rise up in the name of the Lord and in faith make a mighty effort and call [60] upon the name of the Lord to help. He will surely help him, as Paul said, through Christ strengthening me I can do all things and then again man left to himself is very weak, and without faith he can do nothing. (Feb. 1854) To divine acceptance, but as man has his agency he must be responsible for his acts, now in these last days, God has revealed himself to man and hath sent his holy angels, which hath communicated to man the great plan of salvation. He hath sent His angels and committed the everlasting Gospel with all its gifts and graces, and his angels hath given the power and authority of God, the holy Priesthood, to administer the same to all men and give unto them the Holy Ghost, even to every one of the whole human family that will receive it, while those that will not receive it, shall be damned saith the Lord God. (Joseph Lee Robinson Journal, pp. 59-60, typescript)

Difficulties with the Indians

Brigham Young, July 1, 1853

Des. News, October 15, 1853

I wish to say a few words to the Latter Day Saints this morning, as there seems to be considerable excitement in the feelings of the people, and many inquiring what will be the result of the present Indian difficulties.

I will give you my testimony as far as I have one on the subject, concerning those difficulties in this Territory, north and south, pertaining to our brethren the Lamanites. My Testimony to all is: it is right, and perfectly calculated, like all other providences of the Lord, of the like nature, to chasten this people until they are willing take council. They will purify and sanctify the Saints, and prepare the wicked for their doom.

There has nothing strange and uncommon to man yet occurred; nothing has yet happened out of the ordinary providences of the Lord. These common _________(?) of our Great Head with His people have been manifested from days of old, in blessings and chastisements. Wars, commotions, tumults, strife, nation contending against nation, and people against people, have all been governed [61] and controlled by Him whose right it is to control such matters.

Among wicked nations, or among saints–among the ancient Israelites, Palestines, and Romans, the hand of the Lord was felt; in short, all the powers that have been upon the earth, were dictated, governed, controlled, and the final issue of their existence brought to pass, according to the wisdom of the Almighty. Then my testimony is, it is all right.

There seems to be some excitement among the people; and fears are arising in the breasts of many as to the general safety. Some person has been shot at by the Indians, or some Indians were seen in a hostile condition. And away go messengers to report to headquarters, saying, “what shall we do? For we cannot tell but we shall all be killed by them. They have stolen our horses and driven off some cattle, which has created a great excitement in our settlement,” etc., when, perhaps, tomorrow the very Indians who have committed these depredations will come and say, “How do you do; we are friendly, cannot you give us some content?” They will shake hands, and appear as though it were impossible for them to be guilty of any of their hostility. And what is the next move? Why, our wise men, the Elders of Israel, are either so fluctuating in their feelings, so unstable in their ways, or so ignorant of the Indian character, that the least mark of friendship manifested by these treacherous red men________(?) fears, throw them entirely off their guard, saying, “It is all right; wife, take care of the stock, for I am going to the canyon for a load of wood.”

Away he goes without a gun or a pistol to defend himself, in case of an attack from some Indian, or Indians, to rob him of his cattle, and perhaps his life. Herds of cattle are driven upon the range; the feelings of the people are divested of all fear by this little show of Indian friendship, and their hearts are at peace with all mankind. They lay down to sleep at night, with the doors of their houses open, and in many instances no way to close them if they were willing, only by means of hanging up a blanket. Thus they go to sleep with their guns unloaded, and entirely without any means of defense, in case they should be attacked at the night. On the other [62] hand, they no sooner discover an Indian in an hostile attitude, than the hue and cry is “we shall all be murdered immediately.” That is the kind of stability, the kind of unshaken self-command, the style of generalship and wisdom manifested by Elders in Israel.

Today all are in arms, war is on hand; “we are going to be destroyed, or fight our way through,” is in every mouth. Tomorrow all is peace, and every man turns to his own way, wherever the common avocations of life call him. No concern is felt as to protection in the future, but “all is right and is safety; there is no fear of any further trouble,” is the language of their thoughts, and they lay down to sleep in a false security to be murdered in the night by their enemies if they are disposed to murder them.

I can tell you one thing with regard to excitement and war. You may take Israel here, as a community, with all their experience, and with all they have passed through in the shape of war, and difficulties of various kinds, and these wild Indians are actually wiser in their generations, in the art of war, than this people are. They lay better plans, display greater skill, and are steadier in their feelings. They are not so easily excited, and when excited, it is not so easily allayed, as in the men who have come to inhabit these mountains, from where they have been trained and educated in the civilization of modern nations. You may not believe this assertion; it is, however, no matter whether you do or do not, the fact remains unaltered, as well as the conviction of my own mind regarding it.

I have been frequently asked, What is going to be the result of these troubles? I answer, the result will be good. What did you hear, you who have come to these valleys within the last few years, previous to your leaving your native country? You heard that all was peace and safety among the Saints in these regions; that the earth yielded in her strength, giving an abundance of food; and that it is a splendid country to raise stock. Your determination was then formed to go up to the valleys of the mountains, where you could enjoy peace and quiet, and follow the avocations of life, undisturbed. When the people arrive here, many of them come to me and say, “Bro. Brigham, [63] can we go here, or there, to get us farms? Shall we enter into this or that speculation? We have been very poor, and we want to make some money; or, we want the privilege of taking with us a few families to make a settlement in this or that distant valley?” If I inquire, why they cannot stay here, their answer is “because there is no room; the land is chiefly taken up, and we have a considerable stock of cattle. We want to go where we can have plenty of range for our stock; where we can mount our horses and ride over the prairies and say, I am lord of all I survey. We do not wish to be disturbed in any way, nor to be asked to pay tithing, to work upon the roads or pay Territorial tax, but we wish all the time to ourselves, to appropriate to our own use. I want you, Bro. Brigham, to give us counsel that we can get the whole world in a string after us and have it all in our own possession by and by.” If there is light enough in Israel, let it shine in your consciences, and illuminate your understandings, and give you to know that I tell you the truth; this is the object many have in wishing to settle, and take in land that is far distant from the main body of the people. I have not given you the language of their lips to me, but the language of their hearts.

Elders of Israel are greedy after the things of this world. If you ask them if they are ready to build up the kingdom of God, their answer is prompt, “Why to be sure we are, with our whole souls; but we want first to get so much gold, speculate and get rich, and then we can help the Church considerable. We will go to California and get gold; or go and buy goods and get rich; trade with the emigrants; build a mill; make a farm; get a large herd of cattle, and then we can do a great deal for Israel.” When will you be ready to do it? “In a few years, Bro. Brigham, if you do not disturb us. We do not believe in the necessity of doing military duty, in giving over our surplus property for tithing; we never could see into it, but we want to go and get rich, to accumulate and amass wealth, by securing all the land adjoining us, and all we have knowledge of.” If that is not the spirit of this people, then I do not know what the truth is concerning the matter.

Now I wish to say to you who are fearing and trembling, do not be afraid at all; for it is certain if we [64] should be killed off by the Indians, we could not die any younger; this is about as good a time as can be for us to die, and if we all go together, why you know, we shall have a good company along with us; it will not be lonesome passing through the valley, which is said, to have a vail drawn over it. If we all go together, the dark valley of the shadow of death will be lighted up by us, so do not be scared. But there will not be enough slain by the Indians at this time to make the company very conspicuous in that dark valley. Do you begin to secretly wish you had stayed in the States, and in England a little longer, until this Indian war had come to an end? There is a mighty fearing and trembling in the hearts of many. I know what men have done heretofore, when they have seen the enemy advancing, they have skulked, they were sure to be somewhere else than on hand when there was fighting to do. Although, upon the whole, I have no fault to find with the Latter Day Saints, or with the Elders of Israel upon that subject, for they love to fight a little too well. If I were to have fears concerning them, it would not be that they would make war, but in the case of war being made on them, I should have more fear in consequence of the ignorant, and foolish audacity of the Elders, than of their being afraid. I should fear they would rush into danger like an unthinking horse into battle. So I will not find fault with regard to their courage. On that point I am a coward myself, and if people would do as I tell them, I will not only save my own life, but theirs likewise.

Suppose now, that we should say to this congregation, and to all the wards in this City, the time has come for us to fort up; do you not think a great many persons would come immediately to me, and inquire if I did not think their houses quite safe enough, without being put to that trouble and expense? Yes my office would be crowded with such persons, wanting to know if they might not live where they are now living, “for”, they say, “we have got good houses, and well finished off, besides, such a course will ruin them, and our gardens will go to destruction; we really cannot fort up.” Would there not be a great amount of hard feelings upon the subject? I think so, whether you do or not. I think I should want as many [65] as a legion of angels to assist me to convince every family it was necessary, if it actually was so.

I do not know but the time may come, and that speedily, when I shall build a fort myself in this city, and those who are disposed can go into it with me, while the rest can stay out. When I see it is absolutely necessary to do this, I shall do it. If the people of Utah Territory would do as they are told, they would always be safe. If the people in San Pete County had done as they were told from the beginning of that settlement, they would have been safe at this time, and would not have lost their cattle. Day before yesterday, Friday, July 29th, the Indians came from the mountains to Father Allred’s settlement and drove off all their stock amounting to 200 head. If they had done as they were told, they would not have suffered this severe loss, which is a just chastisement.

I recollect when we were down at Father Allred’s settlement last April; they had previously been to me, not only to know if they might settle in San Pete, but if they might separate widely from each other, over a piece of land about 2 miles square, each having a 5 acre lot for their garden, near their farms. They were told to build a good substantial fort, until the settlement became sufficiently strong and not live so far apart and expose themselves and their property to danger. Father Allred told me they were then so nigh together, they did not know how to live! I told him they had better make up their minds to be baptized into the Church again, and get the Spirit of God that each one may be able to live at peace with his neighbor in close quarters, and not think himself intrigued upon. They wanted to know if they were to build a fort. Why yes, I said, build a strong fort, and a corral to put your cattle in, that the Indians cannot get them away from you. “Do you think, Bro. Brigham, the Indians will trouble us here?” they inquired. I said, it is none of your business whether they will or not; but you will see the time that you will need such preparations; but I did not think it would come so quickly. There will more come upon this people to destroy them than they at present think of, unless they are prepared to defend themselves, which I shall not take time, this morning, to dwell upon. I said also to the brethren at Utah, do you make a fort, [66] and let it be strong enough, that Indians cannot break into it. They commenced and did not make even the shadow of a fort, for in some places there was nothing more than a line to mark where the approaching shadow would be. They began to settle round upon the various creeks and streamlets, and the part of a fort that existed, was finally pulled up and carried away somewhere else. I have told you from the beginning you would need forts, where to build them, and how strong. I told you six years ago to build a fort, that the Devil could not get into, unless you are disposed to let him in, and that would keep out the Indians.

Excuse me for saying Devil; I do not often use the old gentlemen’s name in vain, and if I do it, it is always in the pulpit, where I do all my swearing. I make this apology because it is considered a sin to say Devil, and it grates on refined ears.

I told the settlement in San Pete at the first to build a fort; they did not do it, but huddled together beside a Stone Quarry, without a place of common shelter where they could defend themselves, in case of an Indian difficulty. They had faith they could keep the Indians off; well, now is the time to call it into exercise. They did, after a while build a temporary fort at San Pete, which now shields them, in a time of trouble.

When the Brethren went to Salt Creek, they wanted to make a settlement there, and inquired of me if they might do so. I told them no, unless they first built an efficient Fort; I forbade them taking their women and children there until that preparatory work was fully accomplished. Has it ever been done? No, but families went there and lived in wagons, and brush houses perfectly exposed to be killed. If they have faith enough to keep the Indians off, it is all right.

From the time these distant valleys began to be settled until now, there has scarcely been a day but what I have felt a 25 ton weight, as it were, upon me, in exercising faith to keep this people from destroying themselves; but if any of them can exercise faith enough for themselves, and wish to excuse me, I will take my faith back.

[67]      The word has gone out now, to the different settlements in the time of harvest, requiring them to build forts. Could it not have been done last winter better than now? Yes. Do you not suppose people will now wish they had built forts when they were told? If they do not, it proves what they have been all the time, shall I say fools? If that is too harsh a term, I will say they have been foolish. It is better for me to labor in building a house or a fort; to get out fencing timber, and wood to consume through winter when I have nothing else to do, and not be under the necessity of leaving my grain on the ground to do those things. Harvest is not time to build forts, neither is it the time, when we should be plowing and sowing.

Now the harvest is upon us, I wish to say a few words concerning it; I desire you to tell your neighbors and wish them to tell their neighbors; and thus let it go to the several counties around, now is the time for women and children to assist in the harvest fields, the same as they do in other countries. I never asked this of them before, I do not now ask it as a general thing; but those employed in the expedition South, in the work of defending their Brethren from Indian depredations, who have heavy harvests on hand, rather than suffer the grain to waste, let the women get in the harvest, and put it where the Indians cannot steal it. And when you go into the harvest field, carry a good butcher knife in your belt, that if an Indian should come upon you, supposing you to be unarmed, you will be sure to kill one of them.

Tell your neighbors of this, and go to work men, women and children, and gather in your grain, and gather it clean, leave none to waste, and put it were the Indians cannot destroy it.

Does this language intimate anything terrific to you? It need not. If you will do as you are told, you will be safe continually. Secure your bread stuff, your wheat, and your corn when it is ripe, and let every particle of grain raised in these valleys be put where it will be safe, and as much as possible from vermin, and especially from the Indians, and then build forts.

Let every man and woman who has a house, make that house a fort, from which you can kill ten where you can now only kill one, if Indians come upon you. “Bro. [68] Brigham, do you really expect Indians to come upon us in this city?” This inquiry I have no doubt is at this moment in the hearts of a few, almost breathless with fear. Were I to answer such an inquirer as I feel, I should say it was none of your business; but I will say, you are so instructed, to see if you will do as you are told. Let your dwelling house be a perfect fort. From the day I lived where Bro. Joseph Smith lived, I have been fortified all the time so as to resist 20 men, if they should come to my house in the night, with an intent to molest my family, assault my person, or destroy my property; and I have always been in the habit of sleeping with one eye open, and if I cannot then sufficiently watch, I will get my wife to help me. Let an hostile band of Indians come round my house, and I am good for quite a number of them. If one hundred should come, I calculate that only 50 shall be able to go to the next house, and if they use up the other 50, the third house will be safe.

But instead of the people taking this course, almost every good rifle in the Territory has been traded away to the Indians, with quantities of powder and lead, though they waste it in various ways when they have got it. The whites would sell them the title to their lives for the sake of trading with the Indians.

They will learn better I expect by and by, for the people have never received such strict orders as they have got now. I will give you the pith of the last orders issued; “That man of family who will not do as they are told in the orders, are to be treated as strangers, yea, even as enemies, and not as friends.” And if there should be a contest, if we should be called upon to defend our lives, our liberty and our possessions, we would cut them off the first, and walk over their bodies to conquer the foe outside.

Martial law is not enforced yet, although the whole Territory is in a state of war, apparently, but it is only the Utah (Indians) who have declared war on Utah (Territory.) Deseret has not yet declared war; how soon it will be declared, is not for me to say; but we have a right, and it is our duty to put ourselves in a state of self defense.

The few families that settled in Cedar Valley at the point of the mountain, were instructed to leave there last [69] spring; they have gone back again upon their own responsibility, and now want to know what they must do. They have been told to do just as they have a mind to.

Those who have taken their wives and children in the canyons to live, have been told to remove them into the city; and if you want to make shingles, or do any other work that requires you to remain there, have your gun in a situation that an Indian cannot creep up and steal it from you before you are aware, that you can be good for a few Indians if they should chance to come upon you.

If I wished to live away from the body of the people, my first effort should be directed towards building a good and efficient fort. When new settlements were made in the eastern counties they built them of timber, and they were called “Block Houses” I would advise that every house in new settlements should be made good for all the Indians that could approach it with an intention to tear it down. If I did not do that, I would go to where I could be safe; I would take up my abode with the body of the people. I would take my family there at least. By taking this course every person will be safe from the depredations of the Indians, which are generally committed upon the defenseless and unprotected portions of the community.

I know what the feelings of the generality of the people are, at the time they think all the Indians in the mountains are coming to kill off the Latter Day Saints. I have no more fear of that, than I have of the sun ceasing to give light upon the earth. I have studied the Indian character sufficiently to know what the Indians are in war, I have been with them more or less from my youth upward, where they have often had wars among themselves. Let every man, woman and child that can handle a butcher knife be good for one Indian, and you are safe.

I am aware that the people want to ask me a thousand and one questions, whether they have done it or not, touching the present Indian difficulties; I have tried to answer them all in my own mind by saying it will be just as the Lord will.

How many times have I been asked in the past week what I intend to do with Walker. I say let him alone, severely. I have not made war on the Indians, nor am I calculating to do it. My policy is to give them presents and [70] be kind to them. Instead of being Walker’s enemy, I have sent him a great pile of tobacco to smoke when he is lonely in the mountains. He is now at war with the only friends he has upon this earth, and I want him to have some tobacco to smoke.

I calculate to pursue just such a course with the Indians, and when I am dictated by existing circumstances, and the Spirit of the Lord to change my course, I will do it, and not until then.

If you were to see Walker, do you think you would kill him? You that want to kill him, I will give you a mission to that effect. A great many appear very bold, and desire to go and bring me Walker’s head, but they want all the people in Utah to go with them. I could point out thousands in this Territory who would follow these Indians, and continue to follow them, and leave the cattle to be drove off by the emigrants, and the grain to perish, and thus subject the whole community to the ravages of famine and its consequent evils. I have been teased, and teased by men who will come to me and say, “Just give me twenty-five, fifty, or an hundred men, and I will go and fetch you Walker’s head.” I do not want his head, but I wish him to do all the Devil wants him to do, so far as the Lord will suffer him and the Devil, to chastise this people for their good.

I say to the Indians, as I have often said to the mob, “go your length. You say you are going to kill us all off. You say you are going to obliterate the Latter Day saints, and wipe them from the earth. Why don’t you do it, you poor miserable curses?” The mob only had power to drive them to their duty, and to remember the Lord their God, and that is all the Indians can do. This people are worldly minded, they want to get rich in earthly substance, and are apt to forget their God, the pit from which they were dug, and the rock from which they were hewn, every man turning to his own way. Seemingly the Lord is chastening us until we turn and do his will. What are you willing to do? Would you be willing to build a fort and all go in there to live? I tell you, you would have a hell of your own and Devils enough to carry it on. Do you suppose you will ever see the time you would do that, and live at peace with each other; and have the Spirit of the Lord enough to look [71] each other in the face, and say with a heart full of kindness, “Good morning, Mary,” or “How do you do, Maria.” You will be whipped until you have the Spirit of the Lord Jesus Christ sufficiently to love your Brethren and Sisters freely–men, women and children; until you can live at peace with yourselves, and with every family around you; until you can treat every child as though it were the tender offspring of your own body, every man as your brother, and every woman as your sister; and until the young person treat the old with that respect due to parents, and all learn to shake hands with a warm heart, and a friendly grip, and say God bless you from morning till evening. Until each person can say, “I love you all; I have no evil in my heart to any individual.” I can then send my children to school with yours, and can correct your children when they do wrong, as though they were my own, and I am willing you should correct mine, and let us live together until we are a holy and sanctified society. There will always be Indians or somebody else to chastise you until you come to that spot; so amen to the present Indian trouble, for it is all right. I am just as willing the rebellious of this people should be kicked, and cuffed, and mobbed, and hunted by the Indians as not, for I have preached to them until I am tired. I will give no more counsel to any person upon the duties of self preservation. You can do as you please. If you will not preserve yourselves, I may reason with you until my tongue cleaves to the roof of my mouth to no avail. Let the Lord extend the hand of benevolence to Brother Walker, and he will make you do it by other means than exhortations given in mildness.

This very same Indian Walker has a mission upon him, and I do not blame him for what he is now doing; he is helping me to do the will of the Lord to this people; he is doing with a chastening rod what I have failed to accomplish with soft words, while I have been handing out my substance, feeding the hungry, comforting the sick; but this has no effect upon this people at all; my counsel has not been heeded, so the Lord is making Bro. Walker an instrument to help me, and perhaps the means that he will use will have their due effect.

[72]      Do you suppose I want to kill him? No. I should be killing the very means that will make this people do what we wanted them to do years ago.

There are hundreds of witnesses to bear testimony that I have counseled this people from the beginning, what to do to save themselves both temporally and spiritually.

In one of our orders issued lately, the Southern settlements were advised to send their surplus cattle to this valley. No quicker had the news reached them, than our ears were greeted with one continued whine which meant, “We are afraid you want them.” So we did, to take care of them for you.

When Father Allred was advised to adopt measures to secure themselves and their property, he replied, “O, I do not think there is the least danger in the world; we are perfectly able to take care of our stock, and protect ourselves against the Indians.” All right, I thought, let circumstances prove that.

Now as difficulties surround them, they say to me, “Why, Bro. Brigham, if you had only told us what to do we would have done it. Were we not always willing to take your counsel?” Yes, you are a great deal more willing to take it, than to obey it. If people are willing to carry out good counsel, they will secure themselves accordingly.

I have thought of setting a pattern by securing myself; but were I to build a fort for myself and family, I should want about a legion of angels from the throne of God to stay nine months with me to get my folks willing to go into it. But I am so independent about it I care not the snap of my finger for one of them. If my wives will not go into a place of security with me, it is all right; they can stay out and I will go in and take my children with me. I say, I do not know but I may take a notion to set a pattern by building a fort; if I do, some one in this city may follow my example, and then somebody else, etc., until we have a perfect City of Forts.

“Bro. Brigham, do you really think we shall ever need them?” Yes, I do. All the difficulties there is in the community this year is not a drop in comparison to the heavy shower that will come. “Well, and where is it coming from?” From hell, where every other trouble comes from. “And who do you think will be the actors?” [73] Why, the Devil and his imps, (W. W. Phelps in the stand, “We could not do very well without a Devil.”) No sir, you are quite aware of that; you know we could not do without him. If there had been no Devil to tempt Eve, she never would have got her eyes opened. We need a Devil to stir up the wicked on the earth to purify the Saints; therefore let Devils howl, let them rage, and thus exhibit themselves in the form of those poor foolish Lamanites. Let them go on in their work, and do not desire to kill them, until they ought to be killed, and then we will extinguish the Indian title, if it is required.

Did you never feel to pity them, on viewing their wretched condition? Walker with a small band has succeeded in making all the Indian bands in these mountains fear him. He has been in the habit of stealing from the Californians, and of making every train of emigrants that passed along the Spanish trial to California pay tithing to him. He finally began to steal children from those bands, to sell to the Spaniards; and through fear of him, he has managed to bring in subjection almost all the Utah tribes.

I will relate one action of Walker’s life, which will serve to illustrate his character. He with his band about last Feb., fell in with a small band of these Piedes, and killed off the whole of the men, took the squaws prisoners, and sold the children to the Mexicans, and some few were supposed to be in this Territory. This transaction was told by Arapeen, Walker’s Brother, though he was not at the affray himself.

The Indians in these mountains are continually on the decrease; bands that numbered 150 Warriors when we first came here number not more than 35 now; and some of the little tribes in the Southern parts of this Territory towards New Mexico, have not a single squaw amongst them, for they have traded them off for houses, etc. This practice will soon make the race extinct. Besides Walker is continually, whenever an opportunity presents itself, killing, and stealing children from the wandering bands that he has any power over, which also has its tendency to extinguish the race.

Walker is hemmed in; he dare not go into California again. Dare he go East to the Snakes? No. Dare he go [74] North? No, for they would rejoice to kill him. Here he is penned up in a small compass, surrounded by his enemies; and now the Elders of Israel long to eat up (as it were) him and his little band. What are they? They are a set of cursed fools, do you rather pity them? They dare not move over a certain boundary on any of the four points of the compass for fear of being killed; then they are killing one another, and making war upon this people that could use them up and not be a breakfast spell for them if they felt so disposed. See their condition and I ask you, Do you not pity them? From all appearance there will not be any Indians left, in a short time, to steal a horse. Are they not fools under these circumstances to make war with their best friend?

Do you want to run after them to kill them? I say let them alone, for peradventure God may pour out his Spirit upon them, and show them the error of their ways. We may yet have to fight them, though they are of the house of Israel to whom the message of salvation is sent; for their wickedness is so great that the Lord Almighty cannot get at the hearts of the older ones to teach them saving principles. Joseph Smith said we should have to fight them. He said, “When this people mingle among the Lamanites, if they do not bow down in obedience to the Gospel, they will hunt them until there is but a small remnant of them left upon this Continent.” They have either got to bow down to the Gospel or be slain. Will we slay them simply because they will not obey the Gospel? No. But they will come to us and try to kill us, and we shall be u nder the necessity of killing them to save our own lives.

I wished to lay these things before the people this morning, to answer a great many questions, and allay their fears. Yesterday, Bro. Kimball heard at his Mill ten miles North that I had sent word to him that the mountains were full of Indians, and he and the families with him were to move into the City; so they immediately obeyed this report. Bro. Kimball came to me and inquired if I had sent such order. I said, No. But it is all right, for I wanted the women and children from there. This shows the excited state of the people.

[75] One thing more. I ask you men who have been with Joseph through the wars he has passed, and who were with him at the time of his death, what was it that preserved us to all outward appearance? It is true, in reality God has done it, but by what means did he keep the mob from destroying us? It was by means of being well armed with the weapons of death to send them to hell across lots. Just so you have got to do.

As for this people fostering to themselves that the day has come for them to sell their guns and ammunition to their enemies, and sit down to sleep in peace, they will find themselves deceived, and before they know, they will sleep until they are slain. They have got to carry weapons with them, to be ready to send their enemies to Hell across lots, whether they be Lamanites, or mobs who may come to take our lives, or destroy our property. We must be so prepared that they dare not come to us in a hostile manner without being assured they will meet a vigorous resistance, and ten to one they will meet their grave.

The Lord will suffer no more trouble to come upon us than is necessary to bring this people to their senses. You need not go to sleep under the impression that it is the North and South only that is in danger, and we are all safe here. Now mind, let this people here lay down to sleep, and be entirely off their watch, and the first thing they know they are in the greatest danger. You must not dessert the watch tower, but do as I do; keep some person awake in your house all night long, and be ready at the least tap of the foot to offer a stout resistance if it is required. Be ready at any moment to kill 20 of your enemies at least. Let every house be a fort.

After the cattle were stolen at San Pete, a messenger arrived here in about 30 hours to report the affair and obtain advice. I told Bro. Wells you can write to them and say, “Inasmuch as you have no oxen and cows to trouble you, you can go to harvesting, and take care of yourselves.” If you do not take care of yourselves, Brethren, you will not be taken care of. I take care of them that help themselves; I will help you that try to help yourselves, and carry out the maxim of Doctor Dick, “God helps them that help themselves.”

[76]      I am my own policeman, and have slept scores of nights with my gun and sword by my side, that is if I slept at all. I am still a policeman; now is the day to watch. It is as important for me to watch now, as well as pray, as it ever has been since I came into this kingdom it requires watching as well as praying men; take turns at it; let some watch while others pray, and then change round, but never let any time pass without a watcher, lest you be overtaken in an hour when you think not; it will come as a thief in the night. Look out for your enemies, for we know not how they will come, and what enemy it will be. Take care of yourselves.

Again, let me reiterate to the sisters, do not be afraid of going into the harvest field. If you are found there helping your sons, your husbands, and your brethren to gather in the harvest, I say God bless you, and I will also.

Take care of your grain, and take care of yourselves that no enemy come to slay you. Be always on hand to meet them with death and send them to hell if they come to you. May God bless you all, Amen. (Des. News, Oct. 15, 1853)


Patriotic Remarks

Orson Hyde, July 4, 1853

Des. News, July 30, 1853

Friends and Brethren–I arise before you this morning to reiterate in your hearing an interesting and an important truth, with which however you are well acquainted. We are a branch of the tree of liberty planted on the fourth of July, 1776; and as the first display of oratory and burst of eloquence from this stand on this interesting occasion, was a flower that bloomed on our boughs, and was immediately succeeded by the precious fruit, there remains but little for me to do, but to feast myself and you on the theme which has been so ably and beautifully presented, illustrated, and enforced upon your heart, under the banner of our Common Country, on whose folds is inscribed “the downfall of tyranny, and the rising Star of Israel’s hope.”

The great family of nations on this globe, among which ours occupies the most enviable position, stands in [77] the same relation to the Supreme Ruler of all, that servants do to their earthly master. There are some designed to perform an honorable part, and shine with more brilliance and splendor, and exert a controlling influence; while many others, like “the vessels of dishonor,” are equally necessary to cause action and reaction, until the elements of nature, in all their various ramifications, shall retire to their common level, “and the knowledge and glory of God fill the whole earth as the waters cover the great deep.” Not every member of this great family does the will of God by choice; but the wisdom, providence, and power of Zion’s King will over-rule the acts of every nation to the furtherance and execution of HIS designs; and therefore the nations will be constrained to say, “Not unto us! Not unto us! But unto thy name belongs the glory.” While, therefore, we acknowledge the hand of Providence in all things, we acknowledge not the designs, plans, and schemes of all nations, any more than we acknowledge the correctness of the plans and designs of Joseph’s brethren in selling him into Egypt.

Considering the earth a stage, and the nations and powers thereof so many actors, what part has our nation chosen to act in the grand scenes of the last days? The days of farces are gone by, realities now claim our attention, and we should discipline our minds, and accustom them to sober thought, and prepare our hearts and nerves for the substances that have so long cast only their shadows before them to awaken our fancy and speculations, and pleasingly or painfully excite our unstable souls.

Observe Christopher Columbus in his silent meditations; mark his untiring and faithful observations! Behold him watching the western breeze, and marking, with zealous eye and anxious heart, every substance that floated on the ocean’s eastward-bound current, as probably from the New World he sought. Listen to the philosophy of his reasoning, that a Western Continent was necessary to preserve the equilibrium of the earth, and to balance it correctly on its own axis. Inspired of the almighty God of heaven, he encountered the ridicule and jeer of a faithless and unbelieving world. Bound and hampered by the chains [78] of poverty, he possessed not the ability to prosecute the voyage of discovery, so dear to his heart, and so intimately connected with his hopes of future greatness and renown. Brooding every difficulty–combating opposition, calumny and reproach, from almost every quarter, he surmounted every obstacle, obtained an outfit that was as little fitting and proper for the great enterprise, as was the manger for the birth place of the Virgin’s son. The time had arrived for the discovery to be made! Millions of spirits in the spirit world, who had not yet taken bodies, nor passed the ordeal, in earthly tenements, of a residence on this benighted globe, were waiting with anxious eye for the area of heaven-born intelligences to be extended or opened to the gaze of mortal eye, that there might be room for them to come down and play their part, in their time and in their season, on the stage of human life; the three old crazy vessels were enough! The Spirit Angel was their guardian and their guide, and was with them on the stormy deep. Another important reason why the discovery should be made: the history and records of a fallen people, containing light from the spirit land, and truth from heaven, were buried in the soil of the Western Continent; and although engraven on golden leaves in a strange and unknown tongue, still they must come forth, being among the secret things that should be revealed.

With the view of raising up a Church pursuant to the doctrine contained in these records of a fallen people, a government has to be established on this chosen and promised land whose provisions should be liberal enough to allow and tolerate every principle, precept, and doctrine of the new Church which then existed only in prophetic vision. The Constitution of the United States forms the basis of that government, extending protection to all, and showing especial favor to none.

After this government became fully established, and had time to command the respect of all nations, lo! the angel of God from the courts on high, descended to earth; and “Cumorah’s lonely hill,” in the State of New York, was made to yield up the golden records to the stripling ordained and chosen of God as the agent to enlighten the world with the words of nations long since extinct, whose [79] ruined cities, towns, forts, and various other works of improvement are left as a striking momento of fallen greatness.

Let it never be forgotten, but let the minds’ eye always be directed to it, as the eye of the storm-beaten mariner is ever directed towards the polar star, or the beacon lights, that while they ward off danger, they inspire with joy. It is a prophetic saying, relating to the destiny of this country, contained in the records found in Cumorah and translated by the stripling youth, whose blood has sealed the truth of his translation; hear it all ye ends of the earth! “There shall no king be raised up on his land; and whosoever seeketh to raise up a king on this land, shall perish.” “This Land,” means both North and South America, and also the families of Islands that geographically and naturally belong and adhere to the same. There are promises and decrees of God, in relation to “This Land,” of an extraordinary character. No other land can boast of the same. How beautifully does the spirit of the above prophetic sentiment chime in with the great American principle, “that no foreign prince, potentate, or sovereign will be allowed to interfere in the affairs of this Continent!” * * * Mexico would not allow our agents to preach the Gospel within her borders. The Catholic faith, sustained by political power, to the exclusion of all others, is a cause sufficient for revolutions at home, and for a conquest by a power whose policy it is to let religion stand upon its own merits.

The great design of Providence in raising up our nation, and freeing it from the yoke of a foreign power, and in arming it with energy, strength, and skill, was to make it the honored agent to suppress religious intolerance and usurpation, and to open effectual doors for the free investigation of every subject that can enlist the interests and attention of men, that every principle that will stand the test of a close and scrupulous examination, whether moral, political or religious, may be drawn out, and applied to practical use in that department to which it belongs.

The United States should therefore be regarded by the Latter-day Church as the men that fall the timber and clear the land, removing every obstacle in the way of [80] ploughing, and the sowing of seed. Remember, that whatever land or country falls under the government of the United States–there you may go and preach the gospel, and not be thrust into prison for it as you now are in many countries. The press, also, that mighty engine of power, is free and untrammeled wherever the American Eagle builds her nest. I think I hear a voice in low tone from yonder corner reproaching thus–but in the United States, your Prophets have been killed, your houses burned, your fields laid waste, your grain consumed by fire, your people driven and scattered before the bitter blasts of persecution, like clouds before the wind!

Ah, too true! But the Constitution and laws of the country were not guilty of these cruel and bloody deeds. It was a lawless mob that did the mischief,–an outbreak to which every country is subject; but, you may ask, why were the offenders not punished for their cruelty? Because human legislation had failed to affix a penalty proportionate to the offense; hence the Almighty has taken that matter into His own hands, and will award to them a punishment that will be fully adequate, by making them the eternal servants of the persecuted and martyred ones. If the nation had done all she could to wipe out the stain of these cruel and bloody deeds, herself would have been spotless.

In the spring of 1834, a move was made from Kirtland, Ohio, to the State of Missouri, by the Prophet Joseph Smith, and many of his friends. During the journey, from time to time, some murmuring and insubordination were manifest in the camp. This called out many reproofs and admonitions, from the Prophet until, at length, on one beautiful day, when the sun shone in all its beauty and splendor, (having failed to silence the murmurings in the camp) he uttered, in substance, the following language. “Brethren, by your murmurings and complainings, you have grieved the Holy Spirit. I have reproved you often, reasoned and remonstrated with you from time to time, and you have not heeded the admonition, and now, therefore, so sure and certain as you behold yonder sun, shining in the heavens, without a cloud to obstruct its rays, just so sure and certain will the destroyer lay you waste, and your carcasses shall fall and [81] perish like rotten sheep.” Only about two weeks after, the Cholera broke out in camp, and the awful prediction was fully verified to the consternation of the stoutest heart. Some eight or ten died and were buried in a night! But did the prophet cease his anxiety for the welfare of the camp? Did he become alienated in his feelings from his friends in their hour of chastisement and tribulation? Did he turn to be their enemy because he had spoken hard things against them? No! His heart was melted with sympathy–his bosom glowed with love, compassion and kindness; and with a zeal and fidelity that became a devoted friend in the hour of peril, he personally ministered to the sick and dying, and aided in burying the dead. Every act of his during that severe trial gave additional assurances to the camp, that with all their faults, he loved them still.

If the United States have been guilty of a great dereliction of duty in not making an effort to redress the sufferings and wrongs of the “Mormons,” and the “Mormons” have said that this inaction and indifference on the part of the government, in relation to their grievances, will draw upon the nation a scourge and chastisement from God, we have no more idea that the great purposes and destinies of the Creator will be changed in relation to this nation in consequence of this merited chastisement, than the purposes and designs of a father to rear up his son in honor, integrity, and truth will become changed by the infliction of chastisement for some transgression or misdemeanor.

The “Mormons” feel their wrongs–they know them: and while they live they will not forget them; they cannot if they would. They will remember them also in the spirit world, and in the exalted courts of the celestial kingdom. When they enter, it will be asked “who are these, and from whence come they?” The answer will be, these are they who have come up through great tribulation, &c. They will not forget! Still, like the Prophet who stood by his brethren until death, so will the “Mormons” stand by their country while any foe dares to set his unhallowed foot upon our shores, or upon our borders.

Under the guardianship of high heaven, all things are moving gloriously onward. We have recently had a liberal slice off from Mexico, but the whole loaf must [82] come. The north must give up, and the south keep not back, while the Islands are waiting for Thy law. The voice of God, through the American policy, with loud and thrilling notes cries, Come unto me all ye ends of the earth, and be ye saved from the yokes of tyrants–from the chains and fetters of bigotry, superstition and priestcraft, and regale yourselves under the tree of liberty, whose branches are rapidly extending, and whose fruit is rich and desirable, and whose leaves are for the healing of the nations. (Des. News, July 30, 1853)


Eternal Nature of Priesthood

Orson Pratt

to the Saints throughout the British Isles

Saturday, July 30, 1853

Through the kind providence and goodness of God, I have been permitted once more to visit for a short time some of the Saints in this country. It has been a source of consolation and joy to me to again stand in your midst, and to behold the countenances of thousands, beaming with joy and gladness, because of the great light and important truths which God has revealed, and which the Saints have received. It would have afforded me great pleasure, to have had the privilege of remaining with you sufficiently long to have visited the principal Conferences, but the duties of my mission require my attention in the United States. I shall, therefore, be obliged to take my departure, without seeing many tens of thousands of the beloved Saints, who are dear to my heart for their love of the truth. The ties by which the Saints are bound together, are stronger than the ties of kindred affection; the relationship of the Saints is of a higher order; they are, indeed, born anew, not of flesh and blood, but of the water and the Spirit, becoming the children of the same heavenly Parent; and if children, they are in reality brothers and sisters in a higher and more endearing sense, than those who only sustain this relationship according to the flesh. Jesus says,”Whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.” The love which cements the [83] affections of the Saints for each other, is so much greater than the love of kindred, that they most cheerfully leave fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, homes and native countries, to enjoy the society of the children of God, and partake, with them, the choice blessings of their great common Father, who has begotten them by the word of truth, and made them heirs of His heavenly Kingdom.

Dearly beloved Saints–Remember the great condescension of our God, in permitting us to live in the favoured generation when the foundation of the Latter-day kingdom is laid; when the voice of God is again heard; when angels have again descended, arrayed in glory, and clothed with eternal powers, to confer the everlasting Priesthood on chosen vessels, ordained before the foundation of the world, through their faith and good works, to hold the ministry of salvation in the latter times, and the sealing powers of life and death among all nations; when the voice of Prophets, and Seers, and Apostles, inspired by the Holy Ghost, is heard, as in ancient times, proclaiming glad tidings of great joy, making known the acceptable year of the Lord, testifying of the day of vengeance of our God, crying repentance to all people, baptizing for the remission of sins, confirming the Holy Ghost upon the meek and humble, gathering out the elect from the midst of wickedness, preparing the way before the Lord, saying to all people, nations, and tongues, Awake! Awake from a deep sleep! arise, and go forth to meet the Bridegroom, for the great day of his coming is at hand; clothe yourselves with the wedding garment; see that your lamps are filled with oil, and properly trimmed and lighted up, for he that is not prepared in all things, shall be cast out, where there is weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth. How great is this message! How important its consequences to all nations! How extensive in its application, both to the living and to the dead! Its foundation is as broad as eternity! Its power is omnipotent, reaching from the highest heavens, penetrating, and circumscribing the world of spirits, as well as the world of flesh; opening the prison doors to the numberless millions of the dead, and connecting ancient generations with the generations to come; arranging all in their own order, according to their obedience or disobedience; redeeming others to the [84] punishment due for their sins; uniting in one the righteous of all generations, that heaven may be on earth, and earth in heaven! O ye Saints of the last days, how glorious are your privileges! How great your responsibilities! How inexpressively happy you will be if faithful! How fearful the consequences if unfaithful! Language is inadequate to express the future glory and joy that await you, if you are valiant in the testimony of the truth; while on the other hand, no tongue can describe the misery and wretchedness that await the apostates who turn away from the truth, and break the holy covenant of the Gospel, and altogether reject the Kingdom of our God. For, behold, their sins shall not be forgiven in this world, nor in the world to come, but they shall be cursed with the heaviest of all cursings, being withered branches, cut off from the kingdom of God, dried and prepared for the burning, for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever, where their worm dieth not, neither is their fire quenched. Neither is there redemption for such, for they cannot be sanctified by mercy, justice, or judgment, wherefore they must remain filthy still, being devils, and angels to the devil, captivated and bound by eternal chains that cannot be broken. O my dear brethren, avoid the apostate’s doom! Do not yield to the least temptation, lest you be overcome, and the Spirit begin to withdraw from you, and darkness seize upon your minds, and you be led gradually from one degree of wickedness to another, until the Lord rejects you, and swears in His wrath that you shall not enter into His rest, but that you shall be cursed forever.

Dear brethren of the Priesthood, and fellow-labourers with me in the Kingdom of our God, it is to you that God has committed the power to preach the Gospel of salvation, and entrusted authority to administer the ordinances of eternal life. Continually bear in mind the nature of your callings, and seek earnestly to be the Saviours of men, and not their Destroyers. Cultivate sobriety and solemnity of mind, and give not way to a light and trifling spirit. Light speeches, foolish jesting, and much laughter, are calculated to grieve the Spirit, and bring with them darkness of mind, and barrenness of understanding. God hath said, “Let the solemnities of eternity rest upon your minds.” He hath also said, “All [85] flesh is corrupted before me, and the powers of darkness prevail upon the earth, among the children of men, in the presence of all the hosts of heaven, which causeth silence to reign, and all eternity is pained, and the angels are waiting the great command to reap down the earth, to gather the tares that they may be burned.” If silence reigns among all the hosts of heaven, and all eternity is pained because of the wickedness of this generation, surely the Priesthood upon the earth should be exercised with the same spirit, and should mourn over the wretched, fallen, degraded condition of mankind. While we rejoice with joy unspeakable in our own happy condition, and in the foretaste of that glory, of which we shall soon receive a fulness, our hearts should be pained because of the miseries of our fellow beings, and of the fearful judgments which must soon overtake them, because they will not repent. Who can refrain from weeping over our fallen race? What man of God can contemplate, through the light of the Spirit, the awful abominations which prevail, and not be filled with sorrow! All the heavens wept over Lucifer and his angels when they fell; Jesus wept over Jerusalem; the three Nephites who received a partial change, so that death could have no power over them, neither sickness nor pain of body, were filled with sorrow for the sins of the world; the angels and all the heavenly host, and even God Himself, are pained for the wickedness of man. Shall we then be light-minded and give way to a trifling spirit? No, brethren, no. Let us gird up the loins of our minds, call upon God in faith and mighty prayer, that the Holy Ghost may come upon us more abundantly, even the testimony of Jesus, which is the spirit of prophecy, that we may speak by the power and authority of God, as the Spirit giveth utterance, otherwise we shall be found under condemnation, and our garments will not be clean, and the sins of the people will cry mightily against us in the great judgment day. O, then, brethren, seek earnestly for wisdom to save souls–for power to convince the world of the great message sent down from heaven in these latter-times. Seek to be men of God yourselves, in meekness, in long-suffering, in much patience, in virtue, in soundness of mind, in faith, in much assurance, in stability of character, in hope of an eternal reward, in [86] love to God and to all men, and to everything that is good. Seek to be patterns of righteousness, in your conversations, in your public speakings, in your testimonies, in your ministrations of the Word and of ordinances, in all your acts, in every word, and deed, and desire, and thought, that you may be blameless before all men, both in the church and out of the Church, and blameless before the angels who have charge concerning you, and who go before you to prepare the way for your testimony, and blameless before God, who shall bring every secret thing into judgment, and shall justify the righteous, and reward the pure in heart, but shall condemn the wicked, and mete out to them the punishment due for their crimes.

Again, my dear brethren, let me earnestly exhort you to be subject to the powers ordained of God, namely, the Priesthood in all its various branches. Remember whence it came–that it was not originated by man, neither was it conferred upon us by apostate Christendom, but that it came down from heaven, pure and undefiled, and was conferred by the holy Apostles, Peter, James, and John, who are Priests for ever, after the order of the Son of God, holding the keys thereof, that whatsoever they bind and seal, whether on earth or in heaven, is acknowledged and sealed by the Holy One, and recorded in the eternal records, to abide and remain, when all human authority and powers shall be no more. This heavenly Priesthood is without beginning of days or end of years; it had no origin, but is from all eternity–an endless Priesthood without beginning, being held by an endless succession of Priests, who have inhabited an endless succession of worlds. Each world in this endless succession, has been governed by this eternal power. All other powers not included in this everlasting Priesthood, are usurpations, and must have an end; hence thrones will be cast down, and all human governments vanish away, while this heavenly power will remain unshaken, and abide for ever, and shall be conferred upon the righteous in each successive world to all eternity. Thus, dear brethren, you see that nature of this Priesthood; you see that the callings, and ordinances, and powers of the Priesthood which we now hold, had no beginning, neither will they have an end. He that receives this Priesthood, is in [87] possession of a power that is from everlasting; and it can be said of him, so far as the Priesthood is concerned, that his authority is from all eternity to all eternity, like unto that of the Holy One, being after the same order.

As the Priesthood is without beginning, so are the laws and ordinances of redemption. The Gospel is everlasting, being the plan by which all fallen worlds have been redeemed from all eternity, and the plan by which all future worlds will be redeemed. All celestial kingdoms are glorified by the same eternal laws, and the inhabitants thereof are made perfect in one by the same eternal plan. As we have received the same Priesthood, the same ordinances, the same great plan, all of which are without beginning, being handed down through an endless succession of ages, and adopted, but not originated, in the councils of eternity, before the foundation of the world for the redemption of this creation; as we have been born into an eternal Kingdom, where powers that are eternal govern and reign, let us be subject to these powers in all things, for they are ordained of God, as the only medium of salvation. To be subject to these powers is life, to rebel against them is death. Also let him who holds these powers, or any portion thereof, beware how he exercises them lest he abuse them, and bring down wrath upon himself, and the sins of the people be answered upon his head.

Finally, beloved Saints, seek diligently to obey every word of God, and keep yourselves pure, and virtuous, and holy, that you may have claim on the promises, and be gathered in one, and be prepared in all things for the coming of our Lord; for the day of the wicked is far spent, and the earth must be redeemed, and the day of the righteous come, when the powers of heaven shall come down and dwell in their midst. May peace, and joy, and heavenly gifts, be multiplied upon you, through your faith and obedience to the word of truth. And may salvation, and glory, and everlasting honour, and eternal lives, be administered to you, through the holy ordinances, in the house of our God which His people are building to His holy name.

And with the most earnest desire for your deliverance from Babylon, and for your eternal welfare, I [88] subscribe myself, your humble servant in the Kingdom of God. (Mill. Star 15:497)


The First Principles First

Orson Pratt, July 30, 1853

If the Saints of God are to increase in knowledge and wisdom, until the perfect day, they must have principles laid before them, from time to time, of which they were previously entirely or partially ignorant. They cannot increase in knowledge, unless this be the case.

In ancient times the people of God had line upon line, and precept upon precept. Apostles and Prophets were given for the very purpose of feeding the Saints with knowledge. These officers, and others, were placed in the Church for the express purpose of perfecting the Saints. And in latter times the Almighty has seen good to restore the Apostleship to the earth, that all the sons of men might, if they would, increase in intelligence, until nothing should be hid from their eyes. Many principles which were well known to the ancients, and which modern generations had lost sight of, through wickedness, have been revealed anew in plainness and simplicity–yea, in such simplicity that a wayfaring man, though a fool, need not err in them. Within the passing year, principles have been unfolded to the Saints, of which, previously, they knew little or nothing. These principles, as they go to the root of the multitudinous social evils that desolate the earth, have caused the hearts of the faithful Saints to rejoice with joy unspeakable, and full of glory. Those persons, whether Saints or sinners, who have objected to the principles named, have manifested opposition from one of two causes–from self-corruption, or from narrow, bigoted views shaped by the false and dark traditions which have been handed down in the world, from father to son, for many generations.

Where opposition to the advanced principles of salvation, is the offspring of self-corruption, we think the conscience has become seared as with a hot iron. Such characters must, we fear, experience a foretaste, at least, of the day of burning, ere much hope can be entertained on [89] their behalf. But where opposition to these advanced principles is the result to early education–of traditions imbibed by the mind, from its infancy, there is hope. Such characters should be carefully and judiciously fed, as their respective capacities may warrant, with the words of eternal life. It is in vain for the Elders to imagine that the mind which is strongly imbued with false tradition, and whose conceptions are iron-bound by the influence of early education, can receive, at once, the more advanced principles of salvation. Can a man who has been long accustomed to dwell in the profoundest gloom, endure the light of mid-day, if he be brought suddenly to the test? Verily, no. Lessen his gloom by degrees–let light break upon him gradually, from the faintest and most subdued twilight, and if his visual organs be not radically bad, he will by and by be able to endure the glorious blaze of noon. So it is with the mind of that man who has been educated in the thick darkness of no-revelation. Repentance and remission of sins, if presented in a judicious manner to him, he may be enabled soon to comprehend, and, most likely, obey. But recklessly force upon such a man the doctrines of preaching to, and baptism and ordination for, the idea, of marriage for eternity, of a plurality of wives, of increasing a man’s family, by proxy–and what is the result? If you intend to bring such a mind to behold the glory of spiritual day, you lose your labour, you destroy his spiritual vision, or, at best, so seriously injure it, that it will take years to repair the damage done.

Now, O ye Elders of Israel, turn your thoughts upon your own minds, and your past experience, and ask yourselves what principles you comprehended first, and which first filled your expanding capacities, and enlightened your minds, pertaining to eternal salvation. Your answer will be–The first principles of the Gospel–faith, repentance, baptism for the remission of sins, with the promise of the Gift of the Holy Ghost. These were the principles which first caused you to lift up your hearts in unbounded gratitude and hearty thanksgiving to your Father in heaven, for the light and intelligence that He had been pleased to bestow upon your benighted souls. A comprehension of these principles first caused you to sing, with the poet,

[90]      “There is a sweet sound in the Gospel of heaven,

And people are joyful when they understand.”

When you had obeyed these first principles, you felt strengthened to reach after and circumscribe others, until, from faith to faith, and from strength to strength, you are now able to receive whatever principles are laid before you, from the proper source, and to apply them, as wisdom dictates. Now, it is written that God fashioneth alike the hearts of men. Therefore, if the first principles of the Gospel caused you to rejoice, O ye Elders of Israel, and if these principles were most appropriate for your situation, previous to your entering the church, they must be most calculated to rejoice the hearts and befit the situation of other men, who are yet in their sins, and ignorance, and darkness. Charity begins at home first, and so does salvation. What is the sweetest sound to a man labouring under a consciousness of his own sin? Repentance, and baptism for the remission of his sins, through faith in a crucified Redeemer. This will soothe the sinner’s wounded feelings, and give relief to his burdened soul. The assurance that light is at hand. Expatiate, to a chained and loaded slave, on the beauties and enjoyments of liberty. Does that give him relief? Do you thus become his saviour? No, you give him pain, you become his tormentor. But slip the load from off his back, burst his fetters, and his heart is full of gratitude to you, he appreciates your philanthropy, he calls you his deliverer–the messenger of liberty and heaven to him. Then he is prepared to listen to and understand your rapturous disquisitions on the blessings of freedom, and the way to enjoy, without abusing, them.

Personal and present salvation is what honest people want. What must I, myself, do now, at the present time, to be saved? is the sinner’s cry. An honest man feels that he must secure his own peace with God, ere the salvation of kindred and friends can be accomplished. Such a man also feels that he must first have the load removed which he has now on his back, ere he can bestow much time upon the contemplation of duties and privileges which are years ahead of the present time. For he knows he cannot thoroughly understand those duties, and appreciate those privileges, until he is liberated from the burden that now [91] damps his energies, and impedes his exertions. Of what utility are elaborate discourses upon salvation for the dead, or celestial marriage, to the soul who is panting for the remission of his own sins, and for reconciliation to his God? Such a soul wants to hear the preaching that will suit his own case, to learn something that will exactly meet his own circumstances and satisfy his own desires.

That Elder is the most eloquent and effectual preacher who discourses most judiciously and seasonably upon the things which the Lord wants the people to do at the present time. These are the things that should be constantly kept before the people, by their Elders, in their teachings. No matter whether the audience be Saints or sinners, the burden of the principles laid before the audience should be those which they would manifest the greatest wisdom in immediately acting upon in the order that might be pointed out. If the audience be Saints, let them know their duties of the week, of the day, then the Saints may be stirred up to perform those duties, and be prepared for the duties of the morrow, or the next week. If the audience be sinners, let them know that the first duties required for such persons, after they believe, are repentance, and baptism, promising them remission of sins, and the Gift of the Holy Ghost. So shall the words of the Priesthood be sought after, and relied upon, to the ends of the earth, by Saints and sinners, as words of life and salvation, and they shall appear as “apples of gold in pictures of silver.”

But when the principles pertaining to present duties are perfectly understood by the Saints, they should earnestly seek after, and they should be carefully instructed in, every principle revealed from heaven, or that exists upon the earth, that they may be fully informed of their privileges and of the doctrines of salvation, and be increasing and becoming more perfect day by day. Let the Saints first learn perfectly the things that concern them to day, and then press forward with all diligence to obtain all other knowledge of doctrine and principle, until they shall attain to a fulness. But let not the things of the present be forgotten by the Saints, in their over anxiety to seek after the things of the future. Search diligently and perseveringly for all knowledge–[92] first the immediately useful, then all other species of knowledge as circumstances and capacity allow. By such a course the Saints will be ever able to give a reason for the hope that is within them, and will be able to stand in the day of tribulation, to miss the apostate’s fate, and ultimately to overcome, and to be crowned with eternal glory in the Kingdom of our God.

Certain contentious persons sneeringly say that the Latter-day Saints have one class of doctrines for the initiated, and another class for the uninitiated. The Latter-day Saints have certain truths to teach unto the people, and, as the mind of man is so constituted as to be unable to receive all truths at once, it naturally follows that, if man receives all truths, he must receive them on a graduated scale, or, in Scripture language, he must receive line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little. The Latter-day Saints act upon this obvious, simple, natural principle–they could not do otherwise. All teachers act upon this natural law. The ancient Apostles acted on the same plan–the nature of the mind of man is such that the Apostles could not have acted otherwise. Paul had milk for babes, strong meat for men and women in Christ, and things unlawful to utter, of which we have no account that he gave any idea, to a second person–they might have been, and might now be, received and understood in the same way that Paul received and understood them. What is the use of attempting to teach a child grammar, before it knows words or letters? Where would be the wisdom of attempting to teach a boy the Rule of Three, before he knew how to add, subtract, or multiply? Such attempts would be folly. Yet some men–“Anti-Mormons,” are thus far foolish, or pretend to be. But we apprehend a great many men are more wicked than foolish. There are no persons so blind as those who will not see, or so deaf as those who will not hear, or so dull as those who will not comprehend.

However, a word to the wise is sufficient. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. (Mill. Star 15:505-507)


[93]                              Poor Utah

Deseret News, July 30, 1853

Poor, poor, POOR, MISERABLE UTAH! Yes, doubly poor and miserable, if “what everybody says must be true.” “It is better to be out of the world than out of the fashion” of the world, and we think it high time to rise at two o’clock in the morning, as we now do, to declare the degradation of Utah.

After reading the papers from almost all parts of Christendom, we tried to sleep, but all our trails were vanity, and vexation of spirit, to think that Utah, our beloved Utah, who has boasted so much of her free and liberal institutions, and of the light and intelligence she possesses over and above many portions of the earth, is so far behind her sister confederates; and unless she raises speedily from his lethargy, stupor, and moral, philosophical, and religious death, must soon sink in ever-lasting oblivion from even the remembrance of a name among civilized communities and Christian society.

And why is this? Why is it that Utah is so much worse than all the rest of the world? Oh! she is “out of the fashion,” and consequently had better be “out of the world.” And what has she done to get out of the fashion, which has rendered her so odious and damnable in the eyes of Christian communities? A curious question truly, and it would take a long time to answer it, and we can only, at this time, give a few reasons of the many that might be given, in justice to the answer, for we want to get a short nap before the sun is too high, and the hour too warm, to bring out all the bed bugs to prevent a morning nap.

Poor Utah! She has not burned John Rogers at the stake, in the presence of his wife “and nine small children with one at the breast,” because he was not Catholic. What is Catholicism the world over, among all sectarian denominations? Answer: Think as I think, and do as I do; that’s Catholic, Christendom all over.

It was upon this principle that the Baptists and Church hung, and drowned, and tortured the Salem and Lancashire witches. Utah has not done this!

It was upon this principle that the Independents hung the Baptists. Utah has not done this, and she is out of [94] the fashion. All men can worship their gods as they please in Utah, if they will mind their own business and not disturb their neighbors. This doctrine is taught in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United states, and because we believe it, we are “out of the fashion,” and many believe we had better be “out of the world,” and we expect we shall be, by and by, for we have been kicked into the tops of the mountains, about as high as we can be without going out of the world, and if we should be kicked much higher we might fall up off the “topless throne,” and if we should, the Devil don’t know where we should go to.

We are out of the fashion in a great many such like things, but we can’t help it, neither can we stop to tell of many of our unfashionables. Is it necessary, so long as all men who have eyes can’t see them?

Utah is out of the fashion because she does not license grog shops, by scores and hundreds, where children can “get drunk for a red cent,” as they do in New York City, if we can believe their own papers; and surely that city, the mercantile metropolis of the “New world,” must be the regular Gothamite fashion, in first style.

Great Salt Lake City (and the same of Utah en masse) is altogether behind the times, and out of fashion, when compared with Washington, New York, London, Paris, Constantinople, Hamburg, St. Petersburg, and a thousand other Christian cities, for she has not one house of infamy, licensed or unlicensed; not one house of prostitution in all her borders, “exceedingly inconvenient” as it may be to apostate woolsacks; no, not one true of the street called five points by name or nature; and if a father, husband, or brother should catch a seducer, his blood would be the forfeit, and our highest judicators would be bound to sanction the deed, for they live among a virtuous people; and in this thing we are exceedingly unpopular in Utah.

Neither can we compare with the great cities of the earth, because we have no houses of assignation, where the banker, merchant, or gentleman can meet his miss, his kept, his lady when he pleases leaving the dearly beloved of his bosom, the wife of his youth, to enjoy the same privilege with another banker, merchant, or gentleman, at [95] the same time, at the house of assignation, and quite possibly under the same roof. What glorious times in many cities! We can’t keep up with them. If New York, and Congress, and London can truly declare us unpopular, we would be glad to hear it.

We are altogether out of the fashion, when compared with some missionary operations on the Western Islands, about 20 deg. north lat. We do not allow the wives and daughters of our missionaries to stray round among sailors, in the twilight, for gew-gaw fandangoes, while their husbands and fathers are out on a similar excursion among the queens and princesses, striving to convert them to five point Christianity.

We are exceedingly unpopular and out of fashion with the great “American Board,” and Christendom of course, because that when our missionaries, in foreign countries, find a man who has “nine wives,” and all want to join the Church, they do not forbid his baptism till he has got rid of or put away eight of them, and the dear husband fats and eats eight of them; and then he and his one wife are fit subjects for baptism, and may join the church, and be very holy on the fat of eight murders.

Utah is unpopular because she will not allow six, nine, or twelve men to catch one unprotected woman, and run off into the corn fields, and do what they please with her, without calling them to an account, and making them atone for their acts.

And finally, Utah is most exceedingly unpopular because she will not allow every libertine to make love to every girl of ten years and upwards, promise her marriage, with all the et-cet-eras, &c., without the consent of her parents, and then leave her enceinte, and say no more about it, only “he’s a fine fellow,” “a most promising young man” (an old rascal perhaps of thirty, forty, or fifty)’ but she, poor, fair, lovely, inexperienced girl, (fit to have been a goddess if she had had a true mother’s care, and woman’s experience, to protect her from infernal demons,) must be banished from human society, and crushed forever in feeling, simplicity, and everything that makes life desirable, and driven an outcast from the world, to welter in dens of wickedness and filth that her soul always abhorred. Yes! truly we are most exceedingly unpopular in [96] this thing, for any infernal libertine of the kind–who might be lauded to the skies in any Christian community, and be pampered with sweetmeats, and cherry slop, and the best of Madeira, and ice cream, by fathers and mothers, and genteel families, unprostituted(?), for the sake of securing the damned rascal for one of their dear daughters! Yes! O yes! we are as unpopular as hell, and a little more so–or if such a seducing murderer of affection and love did not get his accursed throat cut, without judge or jury, before he slept one night, it would be because his friends could not find him.

Unpopular as we are, we will take a nap after this half hour’s scribble, and let our popularity and unpopularity lie over till more leisure. Consider–we have hinted at nothing but what the newspapers tell us, and not a thousandth part of that. (Des. News, July 30, 1853)


Monogamy, Polygamy and Christianity

  1. W. Richards, Mill. Star Editor

Saturday, August 6, 1853

Monogamy, or single marriage, (that is, marriage to one wife at once,) is an old Roman practice, adopted by the Roman Church, and thus introduced into Christendom. Whether the Apostles taught it or not we cannot say, as St. Paul enjoins it only on bishops, thereby, however, inculcating the propriety of it without enforcing it as a rule. No Roman was allowed to have two wives at once, but was liable to be punished for bigamy. Marc Antony was the first Roman who had two wives. Julius Caesar attempted to have a law passed in favour of polygamy, but could not effect it. It was no doubt owing to this national custom amongst the Romans, that the early Roman ladies were so distinguished for their personal dignity and propriety of conduct. Woman held a much higher rank amongst the Romans than amongst the Jews. The early Christians so naturally adopted this habit of Roman respectability, that we are apt to ascribe the monogamy of the western world to Christianity; but this is a mistake. There is no evidence of it either in Scripture or in history. Nay, it is a well-known fact, that even concubinage was [97] sanctioned by the early Church. A man was allowed to keep a concubine without marriage, but not a concubine and a wife together. (See Bingham’s Antiquities, Book xvi., c. 11.) To return to the habits of the early or primitive Church would be a retrograde movement; and therefore, even if the Mormons can show that there is nothing against polygamy in the New Testament, it will be of little service to them. It is the practice of an age of barbarism. (Family Herald, July 2)

The other day, our eyes came across the above paragraph, and we thought that if inserted in the Star, with a word of comment, the whole might prove acceptable to those good Christians who think the principle of polygamy to be an innovation of Christianity.

We have heretofore said more than once, that polygamy and primitive Christianity were not inimical to each other, that neither the New nor the Old Testament had a line of condemnation for the principle of a plurality of wives, and that the practice of this principle, in righteousness, was not displeasing in the sight of God. We have given Scripture references upon the matter, but all Christians are not convinced. Some have a notion that, in primitive times, monogamy was the universal law amongst Christians, and that Christ made void the Old Testament ideas and teachings concerning the Propriety of a man’s having more than one wife. Two witnesses are better than one. The Family Herald comes forward, with profane historical references, to assist in the enlightenment of such unbelieving Christians. He assures them that many “are apt to ascribe the monogamy of the western world to Christianity; but this is a mistake. There is no evidence of it either in Scripture or in history. Nay, it is a well known fact that even concubinage was sanctioned by the early Church.” How do the Christians feel to hear this, not what the “Mormons” say, but what the Protestants say?

But this is not the worst feature for the Protestant Christians to look upon. Mr. Herald here plainly tells them that they have derived their strict monogamic system from the Roman Catholic Church. Protestant Christians agree to call this Church Antichrist, the great whore who sitteth upon many waters, the mother of harlots and abominations of the earth, and a variety of [98] other not very chaste or beautiful titles. And the Protestants affirm stoutly that the Roman Catholic Church richly deserves these titles. Well, let us believe the affirmations of the Protestants concerning their venerable mother, lady Rome. Let us take for granted all that the numerous and motley daughters of this ancient lady say of her. Let us believe that the Roman Church is indeed the great whore, the mother of harlots and abominations of the earth. What then? We are led to notice three things. First–The Romish Church is lewd. Second–The daughters of the Church of Rome are lewd. Third–The principal abominations upon the face of the earth are the practices introduced by the Church of Rome, and persevered in by herself and daughters. Let us briefly consider these charges separately, and see how far they can be substantiated.

First–The Church of Rome is lewd. The relation of the sexes is a matter of vital importance. Marriage–the legal union of the sexesÑis the legitimate foundation of society. The laws regulating the union of the sexes are of the first importance, for if the foundation of society be bad, the superstructure must go to ruin. The Lord ordained marriage for all who were worthy, and the Apostle Paul said marriage was honourable in all. Incidental to certain exigencies, the same Apostle gave counsel that those who married did well, but those who did not marry did better; and also that it was well for Bishops and Deacons to have one wife each. The Roman Church, with all the blindness characteristic of those who follow the letter and miss the spirit, has founded arbitrary laws upon the basis of Paul’s incidental and local counsel. Her priests are forbidden to marry at all, and no one within the pale of her influence is permitted to marry more than one wife. Rome has thus strained this counsel of Paul, until she acts in direct opposition to other of his teachings. Under her influence, providing the sexes were equal in number, and it were the design of the Almighty to bestow the blessings of wives and children equally among the righteous and the wicked who might marry, still a portion of the female sex could not be blessed with a protector, and consequently could not answer the end of their creation, and would be left open to the passions of the unprincipled. To give these females a shadow of protection, and perhaps to balance [99] the marriageable disproportion of the sexes, Rome has institutions where young women are encouraged to take vows of perpetual celibacy, with the idea that a thorough conquest over, or rather an extermination of, sexual desire is peculiarly pleasing to God. This is a pitiable delusion, for if the connection of man and woman were offensive to our Maker, He could possibly have prevented all connection and all desire, by making no distinction of sex. But it seems childish to speak of such doctrine as voluntary perpetual celibacy, were it not that many people are corrupted through it. The teaching of Christ and the Apostles, (excepting the incidental advice of Paul,) and the old Prophets, recorded in the Bible, wisely leaves open the subject of marriage, as to whether a man should have one wife or several wives, those inspired teachers knowing that a righteous man would strive to do right any way. Men, uninspired men, bind each other with chains, but the spirit of the Gospel of Jesus makes men free to do right in all things.

In consequence of these foolish laws and traditions the earth abounds in wickedness. Licentiousness prevails among all nations. Adultery is so common as to be scarcely considered a punishable crime. Hundreds and thousands of women, prevented by law from becoming the wives of good men whom they love, and obeying the impulses God has endowed them with, either throw themselves into the arms of those men they love, (though such men be previously married,) or become the wives of wicked, brutal men who, by their actions, evince that they have not the shadow of a right to the control of a woman’s affections or person, or of a posterity. In the first case, infamy is the result; in the second, moral prostitution in both, a life of misery–all through the traditionary, foolish, unchristian ungodly restrictions of an apostate Church, respecting the gratification of those desires which the Almighty planted in the bosom of man and woman for a wise and happy development. Thus, under the colour of chastity of the purest cast, does Rome manifest, to one who judges not by the outward appearance, that the spirit which actuates her is a spirit of gross lewdness. Notwithstanding her immaculate profession is not possession. As modest as a harlot, is synonymous with a vulgar proverb.

[100] Second–The daughters of the Church of Rome are lewd. By the harlots–the daughters of the Church of Rome, may be understood all those societies whose pedigree can be traced up to her, and all those who adopt those of other principles and practices which foster lewdness. The whole Protestant world, according to their own showing, come under condemnation here, for Rome enforced the one-wife system upon the Christian world; the Protestants, to prove their lineage to Rome, have followed in her track, and have continued the law of monogamy to this day. None of the Protestant societies have shown themselves pure and godly enough to condemn that law, though they could find no Scripture to support it. Luther and Melanchthon allowed polygamy, but they counselled against it, though, strange to say, Luther confessed that he could not see that it came in opposition to Holy Scriptures. And some amongst the divers hosts of Protestants will not even advocate monogamy, but, with their venerable mother, recommend the adoption of perpetual celibacy. And thus do the whole body of the Protestants, while professing otherwise, proclaim their true lewd character and lineage, and consequently among Protestant nations we find licentiousness prevails to an alarming extent. And the proudest, and, professedly, most Christian cities take the lead in this demoralizing business.

Third–The principal abominations upon the face of the earth are the practices introduced by the Church of Rome, and persevered in by herself and her harlot daughters. Had the question of monogamy or polygamy been left open, and allowed to work according to the law of God, the tributaries and streams of lewdness would have been checked and dried up long before this time. The startling figures on prostitution would not have found their way among the statistical tables of the nations. But this would not have suited the mother of harlots, nor her daughters–it would have ill comported with their genius; consequently she, in all her holiness and purity, set to work so to alter or modify the law of God as to leave her a chance to work out her true character; and her daughters, whilst ostensibly condemning her apostacy, have virtually sanctioned it by continuing those practices which prin-[101]cipally differ from the laws and ordinances of God. And so full is the earth of the consequent abominations, that the Almighty has declared that all mankind have gone astray, and the kings and nobles of the earth especially have corrupted themselves through the multitude of her enchantments, and have committed fornication with her. And, according to the prediction of His Apostle John, the Lord has commissioned His servants to trumpet forth the command to the pure among all nations–“Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.” The pure in heart are commanded, for two reasons, to separate themselves from her–that they partake not of her sins, and that they receive not of her plagues. So full is the earth of her abominations, that even those who would do right are in danger whilst in her midst–they are liable to imbibe her false and ungodly traditions respecting marriage and celibacy, and consequently to act upon them, and thus render themselves liable to share in the plagues which God has determined to pour out upon her, as a punishment for her abominations. By going out from her midst, those who love righteousness can renounce her traditions, and be taught more perfectly in the laws of the Lord, so that the earth may not be altogether cursed and desolated in the day of the fierce anger of the Almighty. It is of no use to disguise the fact that things have come to this pass–men must either take sides with the mother of harlots, and with her monogamy, or with the Almighty, and with His holy law of polygamy and sexual purity. Eventually none can stand neutral–all must take one side or the other.

We will now offer a few further remarks upon our text. The personal dignity and propriety of conduct which distinguished the early Roman ladies, was, we think, the result of that proud and lofty spirit that pervaded the Roman community ere luxury undermined republican vigour and honour, rather than of the monogamic relations of the sexes. Polygamy, as it may be handled, is a mighty instrument for good or evil. When apostacy prevailed among the Jews, no doubt the principle was much abused, and consequently woman then was not [102] treated with that consideration and respect to which she was entitled. But we cannot conceive that the heathen Roman nations understood and appreciated the true character of woman, better than those Jews who were favoured with the revelations of the Almighty concerning the purposes of man’s and woman’s existence. This does not seem reasonable. If a people who have been the favourites of heaven, and the recipients of revelations from heaven, sin and fall, the degradation of that people becomes proportionate to the height they had advanced in heavenly knowledge and intelligence. The greatness of a fall is always dependent on the height from which the fall was made. This is the reason why the Jews are represented, in the Bible, as at one time pursuing the highest virtues, and at another the lowest vices. Whilst the Jews practiced polygamy in complete accordance with the law of God, they must have entertained more just and elevated views of the worth of woman, and the respect and consideration to which she was entitled, than any heathen nation could have done. But when the Jews gave way to sin, their very superior privileges and knowledge opened the way for, and qualified the apostates to work, far greater wickedness than the heathen could have done. When the Jews became transgressors before God, the polygamic relations of the sexes, instead of fulfilling the law of God, and honouring human nature, became powerful instruments of licentiousness, ministers of reckless lust, providers of unbridled passions. Apostates are cursed with the heaviest cursings, because such characters have been favoured with superior knowledge, and their superior knowledge qualifies them for sounding the lowest depths of wickedness.

The Herald says–“To return to the habits of the early or primitive Church would be a retrograde movement; and therefore, even if the Mormons can show that there is nothing against polygamy in the New Testament, it will be of little service to them. It is the practice of an age of barbarism.” This is a wonderful discovery, truly–one that opens wide the floodgates of apostacy to all the world, and palliates the multitudinous perversions of Gospel truth, and the diverse changings of the ordinances and institutions of the Most High God, which perversions [103] and changings have, for seventeen centuries, cursed the nations of the earth, and filled the world with darkness, corruption, and death, and will yet bring down the hot vengeance of the Almighty in the terribly exquisite judgments of the last days. What says the Prophet? “To the law and to the testimony: If they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” But now we are taught that to go to the law and the testimony is a “retrograde movement!” a relapse into “barbarism!” Again–“Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls.” “O, no, say our modern teachers, that would be a retrograde movement,” those are the “practices of an age of barbarism” O, no, “We will not walk therein.” Then what saith the Lord to such? “Also I set my watchmen over you, saying, Hearken to the sound of the trumpet. But they said, We will not hearken. Therefore, hear, ye nations, and know, O congregation, what is among them. Hear, O earth: behold, I will bring evil upon this people, even the fruit of their thoughts, because they have not hearkened unto my words, nor to my law, but rejected it. To what purpose cometh there to me incense from Sheba, and the sweet cane from a far country? Your burnt offerings are not acceptable, nor your sacrifices sweet unto me. Therefore, thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will lay stumbling blocks before this people, and the fathers and the sons together shall fall upon them; the neighbour and his friend shall perish.”

As high as the heavens are above the earth, so are God’s ways above man’s ways. To the polished, artificial society of the present day, a return to the purity of primitive customs, as far as those customs are inculcated in the law of God, may appear a “retrograde movement,” a return to the “practice of an age of barbarism,” but to the pure in heart the matter presents a contrary appearance. Most admit that the social fabric is radically rotten, and if so, we must go to the foundation of society, before it can be made radically sound. To some, such a movement may appear retrograde, and barbaric, but few can deny its wisdom and utility, nay, its necessity. The inhabitants of Utah have pursued this course, and we humbly imagine [104] that primitive, barbaric, polygamic Utah will compare with enlightened, civilized, monogamic Christendom, and only be found wanting in prostitution, whoredoms, debauchery, and the almost innumerable abominations which constitute the most prominent features of all Christian nations. In these things, we know from personal observation that Utah is very, very far deficient. And be further assured that hundreds and thousands of pure and honest souls will yet bid adieu to the monogamic traditions of Christendom, and make a “retrograde movement” to the polygamic “practice of an age of barbarism,” and exclaim, “Surely our fathers have inherited lies, vanity, and things wherein there is no profit.”

According to the Herald’s logic, to preach faith, repentance, baptism for the remission of sins, and the laying on of the hands for the Gift of the Holy Ghost, would be a “retrograde movement,” a return to the “practice of an age of barbarism.” To “contend for the faith once delivered to the Saints,” to seek for visions and revelations from God, to pray for the ministrations of angels, to desire the spiritual gifts of the primitive church, to plant Apostles and Prophets in the Church, to obtain the Urim and Thummim as in days of old, to gain the restoration of our “judges as at the first, and our counsellors as at the beginning,” to seek to bring about the “restitution of all things spoken of by all the Holy Prophets since the world began”–all these things would constitute a mass of overwhelming evidence that we were making a deplorably “retrograde movement,” and that many years would not elapse ere would be seen again upon the earth, in full development, many a “practice of an age of barbarism”. So let it be, we will do our best to bring the matter about, under the direction of the Almighty, for Christians must yet know that they, in many things, are not so far in advance of the heathen as many people may imagine.

It may be asked–Do we wish to banish monogamy and celibacy, and make polygamy universal? No, we wish to do no such thing. We only war against many of the existing traditions and laws among the human family, pertaining to these principles, because those traditions are [105] unscriptural, ungodly, and unpolitic, tending to debase the human family, feeding the licentious cravings of the profligate, and exposing many of the fairer portion of the human race to shame and wretchedness. We believe in the perfect propriety of polygamy, monogamy, and celibacy. All the principles are proper, true, and righteous. Under the law of God, monogamy is a blessing, polygamy is a greater blessing, but celibacy is a curse. It is in the application of these principles that the world goes wrong. Developed according to this law, they establish and preserve society. Developed according to the tradition of the world, they corrupt and eventually destroy society. How then, must these principles be acted upon? By revelation from the Lord. Let the purest and most faithful among the sons of men have each as many wives as God will allow them; let other men have each one wife, or none at all, according to their merits or demerits. This would bring more release and happiness to the world, in ten years, than the practice of all the traditions of Christendom, Mahommeddom, and Heathendom would do in a century of centuries. (Mill. Star 15:513-517)


The Living and the Dead

  1. W. Richards, Mill. Star Editor

August 6, 1853

The time has come when the Saints of God are gathering to Zion, from almost all parts of the earth. They go, in obedience to the heavenly commandment, to assist in building up the kingdom of God. They go to learn more fully the great scheme of salvation, which is now being developed upon the earth, and which, as did the mission of the Son of God, extends its saving influence to the world of Spirits, as well as the world of Flesh. The plan of salvation was ordained for earthy tabernacles, or whether they have laid them down for a little season. The Father of the spirits of all flesh numbers with the dead all who have not received the Gospel; and it is written, that He is not the God of the dead, but of the living–those who are alive in Christ. That portion of the dead who live in this world, possess bodies or tabernacles; those who live in the world of spirits are disembodied, the power of death [106] has dethroned them for a time, but their redemption in this respect is sure; Jesus has purchased it with His own blood. This, however, does not put them in possession of the redemption offered in the Gospel, nor of its blessings, which are of the most exalted character. This is a work yet to be performed by those who are clothed upon with mortality, for by the deeds done in the body shall all men be judged and rewarded.

The Lord has told how and where this work can be done. A Temple is being reared for this very purpose. Saints who have received the power of God, and who live unto Christ, are ever anxious to follow the example of their Lord, and stretch forth the saving hand to others. Some who are in the flesh have been administered to, and now they gather to minister for the dead in the spirit world. They go to do the works required of mortal beings, for their kindred and their progenitors who are dead, that they may also be judged according to those who, in the flesh, have had the benefits of the Gospel, knowing that God is no respecter of persons. But how can the Saints receive the ordinances for their dead unless they know who the dead are? Here is an important question. Many thousands of Saints in Britain are anxious to go where they can do a work for their dead friends, but have they ever thought that unless they have the names of their dead friends, they can do nothing for them? and that other items of information are very essential to that work?

An important duty devolves upon all Saints who gather in this dispensation, and that is, to take with them all the information they can possibly obtain in relation to their dead friends, as well as their living ones. Before you leave your native land, perhaps never to return to it again, is the time for you to get the information you will require to have. Now you have access to family and parish records, together with your living kindred, by which you can learn of many of your fathers and mothers, when and where they were born, whom they married, their children’s names, and when and where they were born, when and where they died, and many of those particulars concerning them, which you must possess a knowledge of. You also now have a favourable opportunity of getting the names of many of your uncles, and aunts, and cousins, [107] and nephews, and nieces, as well as brothers and sisters, the times of their birth, and every other desired particular concerning them. Though many of your kindred may be still alive, they may not live to be gathered to Zion, even if they should receive the Gospel; therefore, do not forget that you may want all their names some day hence. Take them all with you when you go. Could you appreciate the value of such information, which you now have the means of obtaining, you would prize it more than hoarded wealth or the gain of fine gold. If you neglect the opportunities you now have of securing this information, you will see the time when you will perhaps seek for it, but not be able to find it, until you have so far paid the debt of your neglect, that some kind angel from the spirit world will be justified in bringing to you the necessary intelligence. In the midst of your labours for others, do not forget yourselves. We have seen those gathered with the Saints who could not tell the time or place of their own birth, but such cases might be less, if due inquiry was made by such parties, or their friends and relatives before leaving them.

A great work is to be done before all who shall be redeemed in the morning of the resurrection can be restored to their lot and place in the endless succession of eternal lives. The Father will not receive from the hands of His Son, the great work which he has received power to do, until it is presented in its most perfect order, until every soul who is redeemed occupies his proper place in the chain of relationship, which must be unbroken from Adam to the last one numbered in the lineage of man. Some may step out of their places for a season through transgression, or even commit an unpardonable sin, from which they can never be redeemed, and thereby the branch of their posterity be broken off through the transgression of the fathers. But if the children will honour the Lord, and turn away from all the iniquities of their fathers, they shall be grafted in again, and, by the law of adoption, become children of holy parents, with whom they may enjoy every blessing that belongs to the patriarchal order of Priesthood and government.

The God of the whole earth has provided laws by which He will accomplish His own work, and neither death nor hell can frustrate His designs; therefore let the [108] Saints engage in the important duty of obtaining all knowledge which can increase their power to save and redeem the lost of Adam’s race, by administering, in the name of Jesus, for and in behalf of the dead.

The Almighty has been pleased to confer His Holy Priesthood once more upon men, and has authorized them to administer in the name of His Son, for their fellow men, that all who will receive the ordinances of that Priesthood may be saved. What an unspeakable blessing! How diligent every Saint should be to aid that power in the accomplishment of its glorious work. It is no less than the power of the Heavens, for it has come down from God. It circumscribes the Earth, for by it all things were made. It fathoms and purifies the affections of the soul, for by it all hearts are searched, all reins are tried, and to its dominion every knee must bow, and every tongue confess. It penetrates the depth of hell, and because of it, even the devils fear and tremble as they behold the doors of the prison world open, and the spirits of those whom they have led captive set free. At its bidding, the vanquished grave no longer tries to enforce her claim, but yields the earthly tenement, ordained eternally to be the habitation of the spirit, immortalized and glorified to enjoy the associations of God, and His Son, through whom it is redeemed.

Once allied to such a Priesthood, as all true Saints are, who should fear? Devils may fear and tremble; it is their province. But Saints should press onward, and never stop to betray that power which alone can redeem and exalt them. “The wise shall understand.” (Mill. Star 15:521-523)


Luther on Polygamy

(from Michelet’s Life of Luther)

Millennial Star, July 1853

We noticed at an early period of this narrative, the melancholy state of dependence in which the Reformation was placed on the princes that espoused the cause. Luther had time to forsee the results. These princes were men, with men’s caprices and passions; and hence concessions, which, without being contrary to the principles of the [109] Reformation, seemed to redound little to the honour of the reformers. The most warlike of these princes, the hot-headed landgrave of Hesse, submitted to Luther and the Protestant ministers, that his health would not allow of his confining himself to one wife. His instructions to Bucer for the negotiation of this matter with the theologians of Wittemburg, are a curious mixture of sensuality, of religious fears, and of daring simplicity. “Ever since I have been married,” he writes, “I have lived in adultery and fornication; and as I won’t give up this way of living, I cannot present myself at the holy table; for St. Paul has said that the adulterer shall not enter the kingdom of heaven.” He proceeds to state the reasons which drive him into this course: “My wife is neither good-looking nor good-tempered; she is not sweet; she drinks, and my chamberlains can tell what she then does, &c. I am of a warm complexion, as the physicians can prove; and as I often attend the imperial diets, where the body is pampered with high living, how am I to manage there without a wife, especially as I can’t be always taking a seraglio about with me? . . .How can I punish fornication and other crimes, when all may turn round and say, `master, begin with yourself?'”

. . . Were I to take up arms for the Gospel’s sake, I could only do so with a troubled conscience, for I should say to myself, “If you die in this war, you go to the devil.” … I have read both the Old and New Testament carefully, and find no other help indicated than to take a second wife; and I ask before God, “why cannot I do what Abraham, Jacob, David, Lamech, and Solomon have done?” The question of polygamy had been agitated from the very beginning of Protestantism, which professed to restore the world to Scriptural life; and, whatever his repugnance, Luther durst not condemn the Old Testament. Besides, the Protestants held marriage to be res politica, and subject to the regulations of the civil power. Luther, too, had already held, theoretically, and without advising it to be put in practice, the very doctrine advocated by the landgrave. He had written years before: . . . “I confess, I cannot say that polygamy is repugnant to Holy Scripture, yet would not have the practice introduced amongst Christians, who ought to abstain even from what is [110] lawful, in order to avoid scandal, and in order to maintain that honestas (decorum) which St. Paul requireth under all circumstances.” (Jan. 13th, 1524). “Polygamy is not allowable amongst Christians, except in cases of absolute necessity, as when a man is forced to separate from a leprous wife, &c.” . . . (March 21st, 1527. Having one day put the case to Doctor Basilius, whether a man, whose wife was afflicted with some incurable malady, might take a concubine, and receiving an answer in the affirmative, Luther observed, “It would be of dangerous precedent, since excuses might be daily invented for procuring divorce.” (A. D. 1539.).

Luther was greatly embarrassed by the landgrave’s message. All the theologians of Wittemburg assembled to draw up an answer, and the result was a compromise. He was allowed a double marriage, on condition that his second wife should not be publicly recognized. “Your highness must be aware of the difference between establishing a universal and granting an exceptional law…. We cannot publicly sanction a plurality of wives.”

We pray your highness to consider the dangers in which a man would stand who should introduce a law that would disunite families, and plunge them into endless law-suits. . . . Your Highness’s constitution is weak, you sleep badly, and your health requires every care. . . . The great Scanderbeg often exhorted his soldiers to chastity, saying, that nothing was so injurious in their calling as incontinence. . . . We pray your highness seriously to take into consideration the scandals, cares, labours, griefs, and infirmities herein brought under your notice. . . . If, nevertheless, your highness is fully resolved to take a second wife, we are of the opinion that the marriage should be secret. . . . (Given at Wittemburg, after the festival of St. Nicholas, 1539–Martin Luther, Philip Melanchtheon, Martin Bucer, Anthony Corvin, Adam, John Lening, Justin Wintfert, Dyonisus Melanther.) (Mill. Star 15:526-527)


[111]                   Necessity of a Living Prophet

John Jaques, August 13, 1853

One of the distinguishing doctrines of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is, that a Prophet is necessary to stand at the head of the Church to lead and guide it. It is well known that this doctrine comes in contact with the teachings of the greater part of Christendom. The faith of modern Christians is not in Prophets or Apostles, that is, in living Prophets or Apostles. All Christians profess to reverence the Prophets and Apostles who lived in ages long since past. Abraham, Moses, Jesus, Peter, and Paul, are all believed in most faithfully. The most gifted divines of Christendom weekly and daily point the multitudes to the ancient Prophets, and enjoin their teachings upon the people. The Gospels, Epistles, and Prophecies, declared and written by the ancient Prophets, who spoke and wrote as they were moved upon by the Holy Ghost, are read and commented on with all diligence throughout Christian nations. The tombs of those Prophets are garnished, or they would be if known. Magnificent churches, chapels and colleges are reared on every hand to the memory of those ancients who are renowned for having possessed the testimony of Jesus–the spirit of prophecy. It is a shame, in a Christian land, not to profess some kind of faith in the divine mission of the dead Prophets. It is scarcely considered respectable to throw discredit on those ancient worthies, or to speak irreverently of them. The man that does so is scouted from Christian society, branded as an infidel, shunned as a serpent, and piously consigned to those scorching regions where the thermometer rises to an unnameable height.

A common proverb says–“a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.” Scripture says–“a living dog is better than a dead lion.” And I would humbly ask–Does it ever occur to the pious, devoted Christians of modern times, that one Prophet living in our midst is worth two dead ancient Prophets? I apprehend the Christians of these times are far from applying proverb and Scripture after this fashion, for when one talks about God’s having [112] a living Prophet upon the earth, one is looked upon with a vacant, idiotic stare, then follow sneers, scoffs, and sage warnings of delusion, imposture, fanaticism. “A living Prophet in this enlightened Gospel age! Oh most horrible blasphemy, most awful presumption!” And many kindred interjections burst from pious lips, just as though a Prophet never did live–never had a being–never walked upon God Almighty’s earth–never existed anywhere, except in the mystical regions of imagination, like the redoubtable heroes of heathen mythology. A real live Prophet? Impossible! But if possible, and really so a wonderful curiosity, (there was a wonder in heaven–that was nothing to the wonder of a living Prophet now upon the earth) such a curiosity ought to be heralded through the world, by Barnum, then carefully stowed away in the British Museum, and secured by a lock that would keep Hobbs outside. Reader, pardon apparent levity, but such is the inconsistency of Christendom. Doubtless you can call to your recollection manifestations of this inconsistency, but, if you cannot, just take the trouble to tell the nearest church or chapel minister that God has a Prophet now living on the earth–do this, and twenty to one but you will learn something of the matter.

If a man, for disbelieving in dead Prophets, is called an infidel, by what term shall we designate those who disbelieve in a living Prophet? Something worse than infidel, certainly. There is, generally, an air of mystery, more or less dense, surrounding the teachings of ancient writers, which forms a shadow of excuse for disbelief in ancient Prophets, but no such excuse can be urged on behalf of disbelief in a living Prophet. When a character or object is present with us we can discern its features distinctly, but in proportion as it recedes from us, does that distinctiveness of feature vanish, therefore we are more able to appreciate an object when near than when distant. Again, should a misunderstanding occur, we can ask an explanation from a living Prophet, but from a dead Prophet we never think of asking explanations; therefore, as a disbelief in Prophets is censurable and displeasing to God, a disbelief in a living Prophet must be by far a greater sin than a disbelief in dead Prophets. And further, the man who disbelieves in dead Prophets does them no [113] personal injury, for they are beyond his power, but the man who disbelieves in a living Prophet, very frequently does him considerable personal injury by misrepresentation, slander, and physical abuse; therefore, the disbeliever in a living Prophet has the worst position in this particular. So the Christian should examine himself, and see whether he is in the faith of a living Prophet, before that Christian condemns, as an infidel, another man, for disbelieving in dead Prophets. Peradventure the Christian may find himself more of an infidel, than is the man whom he wishes to designate by that title.

It is no new thing for a living Prophet to be discredited, despised, and rejected of men, and most by those men who profess to reverence dead Prophets. Abraham, Moses, David, Jesus, Peter, Paul, and Joseph Smith, were successively disbelieved in while living, and Brigham Young is disbelieved in now, and principally by those who professed and profess to be the servants of God. Who disbelieved in Jesus while living? Those who professed the strictest faith in Moses and the old Prophets. “Have any of the rulers or the Pharisees believed on him?” asked the self-righteous Pharisees of the officers who were sent to secure the person of Jesus, but who were fascinated by the wisdom of his teaching. Said Jesus at one time–“O Jerusalem, which killest the Prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee,” &c. Now, reader, you know, well enough, that in Jerusalem lived the most pious professors and doctors of the Jewish religion, and that these very professors and doctors were much more infidel in their opinions of the divine mission of Jesus, than the common people were. The character which Jesus gives of these learned and devoted rabbis, is by no means flattering, but very forcible, and may exactly suit certain characters in our day–“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because ye build the tombs of the Prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous, and say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the Prophets. Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the Prophets. Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers. Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?” Now it may appear [114] strange to many, but it is manifest, from the above passages, that amongst the greatest and most determined enemies of God and His servants, are those who reverence dead Prophets, preach up their teachings, garnish the sepulchres of those Prophets, and build fine churches and chapels to their memory, yet deny that themselves have any need of a living Prophet. It has ever been the case, where Satan has had power amongst the children of men; and whilst man is subject to the influences of the evil one, it ever will be the case. It was the case with the Prophet Joseph Smith, and the religious professors of modern times, Joseph had no greater or more unrelenting persecutors than those who made a profession in dead Prophets. It is the case now with Brigham Young–he has no greater enemies than religious teachers, and among his greatest enemies may be named some who profess to revere the teachings of the dead Joseph. So ready is the human mind to dishonour a living Prophet, and at the same time to profess to honour dead Prophets.

Now there must be some cause of this apparent phenomenon. It appears strange, indeed, that men should honour certain characters who have long passed from this stage of action, and should, at the same time, despise and persecute a similar character who lives in their midst! What a marvellous perversity! How can the matter be explained? Very readily. It all springs from the truth of the proposition this article started with–the necessity of a living Prophet. Those teachings of dead Prophets which will apply to subsequent generations, should be prized and acted upon by subsequent generations. If this is not the case, a degree of condemnation will follow. But the greatest condemnation that can fall upon a people, follows the rejection of living Prophets. Why? Because those Prophets are commissioned by the Almighty to go directly to that people, with a particular revelation of His will to them–a revelation which, very likely, will only apply incidentally to future generations. Now, if those Prophets be rejected by the very people to whom they are sent, what will the most pious professions of faith in dead Prophets avail? Nothing. Those professions will be a solemn mockery before God. Such a course would add to the condemnation of any people. A living Prophet would be [115] moved to rebuke them, as our Saviour rebuked the Scribes and Pharisees. Of what avail was it for the antediluvians to profess a faith in Adam, Abel, or Enoch, while, at the same time, the hiss of derision, and the finger of scorn, were directed towards Noah, the living Prophet? Did faith in dead Prophets then avail? Not a jot. If the Ninevites had rejected Jonah, and professed faith in Noah, and Moses, what would have been the result? The destruction of Ninevah within the forty days. No people ever made greater professions of faith in dead Prophets than the Jews did in the days of Jesus and the Apostles, yet did those very Jews reject living Prophets in the persons of our Lord and his disciples. What did the reverential professions of the Jews avail? Let the razing of the Temple of God, the destruction of Jerusalem, the dispersion of the Jews, their broken, cursed, and despised condition through a dreary night of seventeen centuries, be a sufficient answer. The ancient Lamanites and Nephites built up churches to themselves and professed to follow Christ, while they rejected the teachings of the living Prophets, Nephi and Mormon. What was the consequence? Let the filthy, degraded, wretched condition of the American Indians suffice for a reply. And in these days men–pious men–professed followers of the meek and lowly Jesus, have rejected the Prophet Joseph, have persecuted him unto the death–now his innocent blood crimsons the land that is foremost in professions of Christian liberty. Will these empty professions avert the wrath of an indignant God? Will not the people be visited by the Almighty for such things? Verily the most pious reverence for all the ancient Prophets will not atone for the innocent blood of one modern Prophet. Will those who reject the Prophet Brigham be justified in the sight of God, by solemn protestations for faith in Joseph? If they do, God will not prove Himself the same yesterday, to-day, and forever. And should Brigham be taken away, will anyone be accounted righteous before God, for rejecting future Prophets, though it is done under a profession of faith in Brigham? Let such beware, for the Almighty expects His living Prophet to be respected and listened to first. The Lord knows full well that as living Prophets are respected, dead ones will be. But if living Prophets are despised, how [116] can true respect be paid to dead ones? Reverence for dead Prophets is a pious burlesque, when accompanied by contempt for living Prophets.

It is folly for any people to follow all the teachings of dead Prophets, for many of their teachings will not apply to generations who exist after those Prophets are dead. Many of the teachings of the Prophet of God, are local–only suited for a particular place and people, and particular circumstances, and not designed for universal application. For another people to apply to themselves such particular teachings, would be gross perversion, and evidence of great ignorance or wickedness. If any people were to build an ark because Noah did, what should we think of them? We should almost doubt their sanity. How foolish it would be for modern Egyptians to migrate to Palestine because the Israelites did! Equally unwise would it be for modern Christians to flee to the mountains of Judea, because Jesus instructed his disciples to do so at a certain time; or for Christians to sell all that they possess, and have all things common, because the primitive disciples did so. Who would now think of selling his garment, and buying a sword with the proceeds, because the Apostles were instructed so to do? Would it not be nonsense for a man who despises Brigham, and professes to regard the words of Joseph, to go to Kirtland or Nauvoo to build a Temple, because Joseph instructed the Saints to gather there, and build Temples? Most certainly it would. Yet into such ludicrous dilemmas those persons who reject a living Prophet, and profess faith in dead ones, are unavoidably led. Men of this description reject the living Spirit that inspires a living Prophet and gives life to all his teachings; and, instead thereof, follow the dead letter of those Prophets who have long bid adieu to their ministry on earth. Yet it is a well known Scripture maxim, that the letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life. (Mill. Star 15:529-532)


Necessity of a Living Prophet (cont.)

John Jaques, Aug. 20, 27, Sept. 3, 10, 1853

One of the greatest tactics of the Devil is to induce men to disbelieve in and reject a living Prophet. This has [117] ever been a grand move with Satan. He has ruined thousands of souls by it, and yet mankind will not learn to reject his sophistry. Said the martyr Stephen to his persecutors–“Ye stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost; as your fathers did, so do ye. Which of the Prophets have not your fathers persecuted? And they have slain them which showed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers.” Satan knows well enough that a disbelief in a living Prophet is virtually a disbelief in all Prophets. If a people reject a living Prophet, and profess to believe in dead Prophets, how will that people meet those Prophets in the resurrection morn, when they all stand forth clad with immortal life? All will be living Prophets–living members of the Holy Priesthood, then! How will they be greeted by those persons who in their mortality scorned and rejected living Prophets. Ye Jews and Gentiles who lived in the days of Jesus and his first Apostles, and rejected them, though you professed to follow most rigidly the law of Moses, how will you meet Moses, Jesus, and the Apostles in the resurrection, and hear them declare that they all held the same Priesthood on the earth? Ye Gentiles who have rejected Joseph Smith, and who now reject Brigham Young, yet profess a conscientious regard for Jesus, Peter, and Paul, how will you meet these worthies in a few years’ time, and hear them all declare their divine appointment to hold the same Apostleship on earth? How will the Christian who rejects living Prophets, and reveres dead ones, act when he finds that all the Prophets are living ones? To be consistent, he must then reject all Prophets without exception. Moses, Isaiah, Jesus, Peter, Paul, Joseph, and Brigham, all being living Prophets then, must be rejected by the Christian, for he does not believe in living Prophets. Then where are his hopes of salvation? They will prove illusions, because they are not founded on the rock. He will discover that Satan blinded him whilst upon the earth, and led him by a skillful bait to reject the means appointed of God for man’s salvation.

People allow themselves to be very readily deceived by the suggestions of Satan. If men would reflect a [118] moment, they would surely discover that that friendship which esteems its object best at a distance, is a very equivocal and a very suspicious kind of friendship; they must see at once that it is tantamount to no friendship at all, that it is only a subtle apology for the entire absence of friendship, and congeniality of disposition. What should you think, reader, of the man who calumniated and stoned you when present, but adored you when absent? Should you not have substantial reasons for concluding that that man’s friendship was all profession–all a hoax? Would you rate that man in your list of friends? Now, Christian, imagine yourself a rejected Prophet of the Lord, and answer these questions to your own satisfaction.

Satan knows very well that if he can always persuade people to reject living Prophets, all Prophets will be rejected of men. He knows very well that if all generations reject the Prophets respectively sent to them, all generations will reject salvation and will be under condemnation. He acts religiously to induce all generations of men to follow this principle, for he is well aware that if he can persuade people to believe that the writings of dead Prophets are sufficient for salvation, the idea of living Prophets would fall into disrepute, they would be deemed superfluous, and, therefore, false Prophets, impostors, the deceivers foretold by the dead Prophets, and would be despised and rejected of men, for the despisers would say, how could it be possible for the Almighty to incorporate in the plan of salvation anything superfluous? O no! We dare not harbour a thought so derogatory to the wisdom of our Father in heaven! So you see, reader, how the poor living Prophet would be received, and that all this kind of reasoning would be the infallible precursor of stripes, imprisonment, stoning, and even crucifixion.

Now it would be too bold and ill-advised a stroke for Satan to come out in his true colours, and declare at once that all Prophets were unnecessary–were impostors. That is not the way he fishes for the souls of men. He is too expert an angler to expose his well-barbed hook after that fashion, you may depend upon it. Men almost universally would refuse to be caught in that style. Therefore does [119] Satan carefully disguise his hook, with the savoury bait of faith in dead Prophets, and thus are thousands unwittingly led down to destruction, and God’s Prophets successively condemned.

It is really surprising that men learn so little from the experience of those who have gone before them. Turn where we will in the sacred records of the past, and we are invariably led to the conclusion that the greatest condemnation that can fall upon any people, is caused by the rejection of living Prophets. Hear the parable of the vineyard–“A certain man planted a vineyard, and let it forth to husbandmen, and went into a far country for a long time. And at the season he sent a servant to the husbandmen, that they should give him of the fruit of the vineyard; but the husbandmen beat him, and sent him away empty. And again, he sent another servant, and they beat him also, and entreated him shamefully, and sent him away empty. And again, he sent a third; and they wounded him also, and cast him out. Then said the Lord of the vineyard, What shall I do? I will send my beloved son; it may be they will reverence him when they see him. But when the husbandmen saw him, they reasoned among themselves, saying, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, that the inheritance may be ours. So they cast him out of the vineyard, and killed him. What, therefore, shall the Lord of the vineyard do unto them? He shall come and destroy these husbandmen, and shall give the vineyard to others.” Now, condemnation rested upon these husband-men because they rejected the messengers that were sent unto them, not for disbelief in messengers sent to others. Jesus intended this parable to apply to the people to whom he was sent. But many who heard it, said “God forbid,” no doubt thinking, as many now do, that rejecting living messengers was not worthy of so great condemnation, especially if the rejecters had faith in former messengers.

Instead of men’s learning from the experience of their predecessors, we find men now filling up the measure of their fathers; as their fathers did, so do the sons. And if the sons fill up the measure of the fathers, will not the condemnation of the fathers rest upon the sons? Assuredly, how can it be otherwise?

[120] How often we hear men now say–“Prophets are done away, we have no further need of them.” And when the Prophet Joseph came forth in this last dispensation, and translated the Book of Mormon, by the gift and power of God, the people rejected Joseph, and cried out, as foretold in the Book of Mormon–“A Bible! a Bible! we have got a Bible!” Now it is not the Book of Mormon, or the Prophets who wrote the Book of Mormon, that the people dislike so extremely. If the Book of Mormon had been handed down from remote antiquity among the learned and worldly wise, as the writings of certain ancient Prophets, all would have been right, the Book of Mormon would have been well received, and widely believed in, and read and expounded every Sabbath day in the synagogues. The Prophets who wrote the Book of Mormon would have received credit as men of God, and many of them would have been canonized. Nephi’s Church, and St. Alma’s Church, and Mormon Chapel, would have figured conspicuously in every large city. But here was the corn–the Book of Mormon came forth in the present day, and was translated by the power of God, through a living Prophet, and to have believed in the Book of Mormon would have required a belief in the living Prophet. Ah! that altered the features of the case most materially; that would never have done; that would have been a death-blow to many of our beautiful systems of religion. Satan’s old bait took most surprisingly. Men seized upon it right greedily. The dead Prophets of Judea were paragons, the living Prophet Joseph was a monster. Priests and people, learned and unlearned, joined in the cry–“We have got a Bible! We want no more Prophets, we want no more revelations, the canon of Scripture is full; all that is necessary for salvation was revealed by the Holy Prophets and Apostles of old. We need neither Prophets nor Apostles any more; they could not teach us more than is left on record, that is sufficient to save us; therefore, we are assured that Joe Smith is a wicked, false Prophet, a heartless impostor, and the Book of Mormon an impudent and vile forgery.” So the living Prophet and his few followers were and are scorned, and everywhere spoken against, and the Devil has a majority of the people safely hooked, like as he had their ancestors, and he is fast [121] leading his deceived captives down to the horrible pit, where there is no water. By and by they will wake up in torment, and peradventure they will see father Abraham a great way off, and will call upon him for a cup of cold water with which to cool their parched tongues. But they will discover a great gulf between him and them. And Abraham, having once lived on the earth, will recollect that however they may esteem and venerate him at a distance, their esteem and veneration would grow “smaller by degrees, and beautifully less” as he approached, and no doubt he will prudently maintain a respectful distance, including the gulf, from them, lest he should be stoned, or shot, or beheaded, or crucified by them. Besides, it would be inconsistent with their principles to be ministered to by a living Prophet. Abraham might readily imagine that their contrition was feigned, because on the earth they believed–

“There’s no repentance in the grave,

Nor pardon offered to the dead.”

And he might suspect some ambush was laid to entrap him. But having on the earth resisted the baits of Satan, which these characters had so voraciously seized, Abraham would not be likely to venture amongst them to accede to their request.

Now, good reader, do not imagine that I am trifling with you, by the above remarks. I wish to enlighten your mind, if possible, and to show you the folly of men’s imagining that faith in dead Prophets will avail, when the question of faith in living Prophets is thrown overboard as untenable. Recollect that disbelief in a living Prophet is a sure sign of apostacy. None but apostates, or those who have been brought up in the traditions of uninspired men, will ever maintain such a belief. It is contrary to Scripture, reason, and common sense. Nowhere in the Scriptures can a particle of fellowship be found for those who reject living Prophets. Not a word has been uttered in favor of their exemption from condemnation, by any Prophet who ever lived. How could a Prophet declare that those who rejected him, or any of his brethren, could be looked upon with favour by the Almighty. Such rebellious characters are ever the especial subjects of God’s fierce indignation, and upon them He pours out His wrath in [122] plagues, pestilences, famines, and terrible judgments. If God does not send a Prophet to a people, the sins of that people will be “winked at,” because there is no one to teach them better, and God knows the dangers which written messages are liable to, when not confided to the care of inspired men–misinterpretations, spiritualizings, mis-translations, garblings, interpolations, and a whole host of contingencies. And is it likely that a just God would visit a people labouring under such disadvantages, with the same strictness as He would visit a people who had a living oracle amongst them? We cannot judge that the Almighty is so partial a Being. The people who had no Prophets in their midst could plead a degree of uncertainty as to the truth of the writings of old Prophets. But where a living Prophet existed, this plea could not be urged, the Prophet and the power of God would be there amongst the people, and the people could prove the same by obedience.

Having shown the unreasonableness of disbelief in living Prophets, though faith in dead Prophets be substituted for it, and also having shown some of the dilemmas into which the rejecters of living Prophets are drawn, I will endeavour to give a few good and solid reasons for the necessity of a living Prophet upon the earth.

Jesus Christ says–“This is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” (Matt. xvii. 3) To have eternal life is a desire that exists in every human heart. If all men were to tell the feelings of their hearts, it would be found that all men wish to enjoy life eternally. But in order to enjoy eternal life, they must know God and Jesus Christ. How is this knowledge to be obtained? Now, reader, imagine to yourself a people who never heard of the name of God, that is, of the true God; how are that people to know God, and thus obtain their salvation? Can they find Him out by their own wisdom, by their own learning, by their own searching, merely? Alas no! Now I boldly aver that no people, however learned or refined they may be, or whatever worldly wisdom they may be in possession of, can come to a knowledge of God, by their own learning, refinement, or wisdom. The ancient Greeks were a very wise and polished people, but did they attain to a [123] knowledge of God thereby? In the very refined city of Athens, Paul found an altar with this inscription–“To the unknown God.” Hear what Paul says of such persons–“Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? for after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God,” &c–(1 Cor. i. 20, 21). Now, here it is evident that men by their own wisdom cannot obtain that knowledge of God, which is eternal life. Again, Paul says–“Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.” (1 Cor. ii. 8) Job says–“Canst thou by searching find out God? canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection? It is high as heaven, what canst thou do? Deeper than hell, what canst thou know? (Job xi. 7, 8) and Jesus says–“Neither knoweth any man the Father save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him.” (Matt. xi. 27) Here it is most positively declared that no man can obtain that knowledge which is eternal life, except by the revelations of Jesus Christ. What course has the Lord taken in former times to communicate this knowledge to men? Was it all given at once or by degrees? Were any conditions required of men in order to obtain it? The knowledge was not all given at once, and many conditions were required of those who obtained it.

The Lord has made use of human instruments in communicating to man that knowledge which will save him, and in administering in certain ordinances which are necessary to salvation. This constitutes a necessity for a living Prophet, as Paul says–“How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent?” (Rom. x. 14, 15) Now, reader, if you will look back of the past, you will find that whenever God did a work upon the earth, He always had a Prophet to take charge of that work. Whenever God had a message of life to send to any people, He always sent it by a Prophet, for a Prophet is one who has been called of God to communicate His will to men, to reveal to them that knowledge which will save them, and to administer in [124] those ordinances which every one has to attend to in order to come to a knowledge of God. So fixed a principle is this, that, according to Amos, it may be taken for granted that the Lord is not working upon the earth, if He has no Prophets. Says Amos–“Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but He revealeth His secret unto His servants the Prophets.” (Amos iii. 7) Malachi says–“For the Priest’s lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law a his mouth; for he is the messenger of the Lord of Hosts.” (Mal. 11. 7) And Paul says–“Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God.” (1 Cor. iv. 1.) Again, “Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us.” (2 Cor. v. 20) From the above Scriptures, it is very evident that where a people know nothing of the Lord of salvation, there is a necessity for a living Prophet’s being sent unto them, if they are to gain salvation.

Many may be ready to admit that where a people are entirely destitute of the knowledge of God, it may be necessary for a ProphetÕs being sent to them to communicate the way of salvation to them. But, perhaps, some persons who admit this, may imagine that when the knowledge and will of God are once declared by a Prophet amongst a people, they have no further necessity of a Prophet, that his words can be written down, and the writings preserved for the instruction of posterity. This brings us back to the old Bible-worshipping and Prophet-killing principle. Here is the grand delusion of Satan again. Now, reader, if you understand anything worth naming of what salvation and eternal life are, and you earnestly desire to gain them, there is no danger of your being led away by this delusion of Satan. There is a great deal of misunderstanding and of “learned ignorance” concerning the meaning of salvation and eternal life. Many people imagine that salvation consists in merely believing in God and the Scriptures. “Only believe, and then you are saved,” cry some who are ever ready to run and preach before they are sent. Some men fancy that if a man goes to church or chapel regularly, and “gets pardoned,” and feels persuaded that he has an “interest in the blood of Christ”–some men fancy that such an individual has safely insured eternal life. Now these [125] notions are very simple and erroneous, and their extensive prevalence in our “Gospel age” only proves the great necessity that now exists for a living Prophet upon the earth. Have the people forgotten that eternal life consists in knowing God? If they have, of what use to them is their Bible? Of what use to them are the writings of the dead Prophets?

To know God, is not the work of a moment or a year. Have we any record of a man’s arriving at a perfect knowledge of God in so short a time as this? Has any man known any instance of the kind? I might challenge all men to bring forward testimony of such an occurrence, and would it not be in vain? What is it to know God? To know God, is to learn of His attributes–His faith, wisdom, knowledge, power, glory, &c., so that we may become like Him, be filled with His fulness, and be enabled to dwell everlastingly in the most intimate association with him. This is “knowing God,” this is salvation, this is eternal life. Ye who revere the dead Prophets, and profess to believe in them, hear what they have written. Paul declared to the Ephesians, that he prayed, “that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all Saints, what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.”–Eph. iii. 17-19. Again–“Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ”–Eph. iv. 13. The fulness of Christ was the fulness of God. Says Paul–“To the acknowledgment of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ; in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. For in him (Christ) dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.”–Col ii. 2, 3, 9. Jesus said to his disciples–“Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”–Matt. v. 48. Again, in praying for them to his Father, he said–“That they all may be one, as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: That the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me, I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made [126] perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me.”–John xvii. 21-24. And John says–“Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as he is.”–1 John, iii. 2.

Probably the believer in dead Prophets will accept the testimony which I have quoted. If so, I say again, that it takes considerable time for any man to arrive at such a state of perfection as to know God, and be fully qualified to associate with Him, and share in His glory. A man must grow in grace and in the knowledge of God–a man must go on from strength to strength until he arrives at the goal, his path must shine brighter and brighter until the perfect day. It appears utterly impossible that he should come in possession of all knowledge at once. We cannot imagine that he could receive a fulness at once. He must require much time to educate himself sufficiently in the knowledge of God, to become a fit companion and associate of God. We know that men, naturally, are far from being in possession of the knowledge which will save them. The Scriptures say that “All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” And if men have not attained to the glory of God, they cannot endure it, for it is a consuming fire. Those who cannot endure the glory of God, cannot endure salvation and eternal life, for salvation and eternal life consist in becoming like unto God, in seeing Him as He really is, in beholding His glory, in partaking of it, and in dwelling in the midst of it worlds without end. Now, who, amongst all those who reject living Prophets, is prepared to enter upon a state like this? Who can say that he is sufficiently versed in heavenly intelligence as to be an acceptable companion to the Almighty? Who can endure the brightness of the glory that surrounds the throne of the Eternal? Who has approximated in any remarkable degree to the knowledge and glory of God? Have those who believe in dead Prophets, advanced many steps towards perfection? If such believers have not, how and when do they calculate upon arriving at [127] perfection? Do they imagine that they will jump from imperfection to perfection in an instant? If so, why did the dead Prophets write of “growing in grace and knowledge,” of “desiring the sincere milk of the Word, that ye may grow thereby,” of the righteousness of God being “revealed from faith to faith,” of the path of the righteous shining Òmore and more unto the perfect day,” of men growing “up unto him (Christ) in all things,” and sundry similar things? Did the dead Prophets become perfect in the knowledge of God at once? No. Says John–“It doth not yet appear what we shall be: But we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him.” Has any Prophet received a fulness at once? No. Enoch walked with God, and learned of Him, at least three hundred years, before God took him to Himself.–Gen. v. 22, 24. Jesus, when he took upon himself the form of man, had limited knowledge, like other men. “He received not of the fulness at first, but continued from grace to grace, until he received a fulness, and thus he was called the Son of God, because he received not the fulness at the first.”–Doctrine and Covenants, sec. lxxxiii. par. 2. Luke writes of him, that “he grew, and waxed strong in spirit.”–Luke, i. 80. And Jesus himself prayed to the Father to impart glory to him, which he would not have asked, providing he already had the fulness.

The reader will now, perhaps, be convinced that men cannot gain eternal life in a moment. I will now show him that a living prophet is necessary as an instrument in making men perfect. Paul says–“For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which if perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.”–1 Cor. xiii. 9, 10. Here it is manifest that there must be Prophets among men until they become perfect, for how can there be prophecy unless there be Prophets? Again, Paul says–“And he (Christ) gave some, Evangelists; and some, Pastors and Teachers; for the perfecting of the Saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.”–Eph. iv. 11, 12. A Saint is one who believes in a living Prophet, and who has been baptized by him, and received the Gift of the Holy Ghost, by the laying on of his hands. The body of Christ is any number of Saints, organized according to the laws of God. The work [128] of the ministry is teaching Saints and sinners the knowledge of God, administering in the ordinances of salvation, and promoting the welfare of the Saints. So, reader, you will see that a living Prophet is just as necessary after men have believed and obeyed the things he tells them, first, as he was before men knew anything of God, or of His will. In fact, you will see that a living Prophet is necessary as long as there exists upon the earth any one who has not obtained to a perfect knowledge of God, which is eternal life. And Paul expressly declares this, for he says, in the verse following our last quotation, that the officers he names were gifts given unto men by Jesus Christ, that would be required “till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.” And in the two succeeding verses, he gives very good reasons why these officers should be with men so long–“that we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive: But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ.” Now, reader, you will see by the above, that Paul was very strenuous on the point that living Prophets were always necessary, and you will see that those who really believe in dead Prophets, must believe in living ones.

From what has been already advanced, it will be seen that wherever the Church of Christ exists, or when ever God is doing anything upon the earth, in regard to the salvation of man, not only one living Prophet is necessary, but many. However, what I wish more particularly to direct attention to is the necessity of a living Prophet’s being in the Church to lead and guide it, to receive revelations from God, by dream or vision, by the ministration of angels, by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, by Urim and Thummim, or by personal conference with God. Although there may be many Prophets in the Church, yet only one has the authority to revive revelations for the control, government, and guidance of the whole Church. It may be asked–Does not Paul say that God set in the Church, first Apostles, secondly [129] Prophets? Yes, but all Apostles may be Prophets, though all Prophets may not be Apostles. And all Apostles are not Prophets to the whole Church. One of the Apostleship is chosen from the rest to be a Prophet, Seer, and Revelator to the whole Church. Now the necessity of a functionary of this kind, is what I whilst to show.

Whenever God has owned a Church upon the earth, He has always had one person appointed to be a Prophet, Seer, or Revelator to that Church. Moses and Noah held this office to the people over whom they respectively presided. In ancient times, when the Israelites wished to inquire of the Lord concerning anything connected with their welfare, they went to the Seer. Jesus held the revelatory office, to the primitive Church. After his death Peter held this office. Subsequent to Peter’s time, we have no satisfactory record of the Church, from which we conclude that the office ceased to exist upon the earth, and the Church gradually degenerated to sectarianism. Certain it is, that the popular churches of Christendom now acknowledge not the office of Prophetic leader. Even the Pope does not profess to be a Prophet, Seer, and Revelator to the Church; he claims infallible judgment upon the teachings of dead Prophets. When a church has no living Prophetic leader, it has no guarantee for its safety, but is liable to be imposed upon by false teachings respecting the character of God, and the nature of salvation; it is impossible that the “perfecting of the Saints,” or the “work of the ministry,” can be carried on; it is impossible to edify the Saints, as they should be, or to bring them to the “unity of the faith.” Why? Because God appointed such a leader in His Church originally, to lead it, to control the ministry, and to direct it according to His will. If there be no such officer now, it is because the people do not desire the knowledge of God, for it is according to the economy of God to give men up to their own ways, when they refuse to respect His institutions. So long as the people have a Prophet in their midst, they can be perfectly instructed in the knowledge of God. If they lack knowledge upon any important particular, they can apply to the Prophet, as Israel did of old, and the Prophet can inquire of the Lord, and deliver the Lord’s message to them. If any danger threatens the Church, the Prophet at the head can by [130] revelation foresee the danger, and prepare the Church for the emergency. Should any dispute upon doctrine arise between two members or officers of the Church, the Prophet could inquire at the hands of the Lord, and receive the word of the Lord upon the matter, and enlighten the disputants, and put an end to the controversy. This short and effectual method, if it had been acted upon for the last seventeen hundred years, would have saved an immense amount of precious time, treasure, and blood.

The moment any people cease to be led by a Prophet, commences the downfall of that people, as far as eternal life is concerned. Look at the history of the Israelites. While they obeyed the teachings, of the Prophet Moses they were safe, they were blessed of the Lord, they were united as one. But as soon as they neglected the counsels of Moses, or turned a deaf ear to the word of the Lord by him, they became divided in their hearts, and the judgments of the Lord were upon them. What is the cause of all the sectarianism, all the bitter theological controversy, all the divisions, and contradictory creeds, and ordinances, and forms, and fashions that distract the religious world. Simply this–there is no Prophet to communicate the mind and will of the Lord to mankind. In the absence of the Prophet’s master hand, religious doctrines have run into such a twisted, ravelled state, that men are puzzled, and they know not to whom they should go for light. They have no Seer to go to. To whom should they go? Should they go to the pope? The Protestants will not agree to that, for they say that the pope is but a man, and one man’s opinion is just a good as another’s, especially as good as the opinion of “the man of sin.” Should men go to the archbishop of Canterbury? O no! say the dissenters, we cannot allow of his decision by any means, for we protest daily against many of the doctrines and proceedings of his law-established church. To which of the numberous bodies of dissenters should men turn? Should men turn to the Wesleyans, the Primitive Methodists, the Congregationalists, the Swedenborgians, or what not? O no, say they concerning each other, we cannot pretend to go to other societies for a decision, we must have our own opinion of the matter. And so the world wags on, one generation after another, preaching, discussing, and [131] wrangling, yet ever enveloped in profound ignorance and uncertainty–all being the result of rejecting the idea of having a living Prophet to lead them.

If a church has no living Prophet in it, it can never, as I have said, arrive at the “unity of faith.” This is a most important consideration. For about sixteen or seventeen hundred years has Christendom run on, without a Prophet to lead it, and deliver the word of the Lord to the people. Not an individual among all Christendom, during this long night of darkness, has brought a message from the Lord. And what has been the result? The nations have been in a deep sleep, the “Prophets, Rulers, and Seers” have been covered. The voice of the Lord has not been heard amongst the people during this dreary period of midnight darkness. The miserable remnants of the once mighty and glorious Church of Christ have been drifting on the dark sea of time, tossed to and fro with every wind of doctrine, dashed time after time against the rocks, from which they had no pilot’s hand to guide them, until a thousand ricketty fragments now meet our eyes. Taking the progress during these sixteen centuries as the ration for our calculations, when will Christians come to the “unity of the faith?” If one Church in sixteen centuries is divided into (say, as a moderate calculation) six hundred jarring churches, how many centuries will these six hundred jarring churches require to come to the “unity of the faith”–that is, to become one grand, harmonious Church, “fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners?” An exceedingly clever arithmetician he must be who can determine this point, and give the figures. Now as the experience of the last sixteen centuries demonstrates the fallacy of the opinion that a church, or several churches, when destitute of a Prophet, can be brought to the unity of the faith, is it wise for Christians to longer prosecute their fruitless endeavours? Is it not hoping against hope, to believe that there is any possibility of unity ever being arrived at? It is truly surprising that men, with the experience of centuries before them, should advocate the doctrine that living Prophets are not now needed, that the work for which they were instituted can now be carried on successfully without them. How can men so delude themselves? It appears [132] perfectly inexplicable. No Prophet needed now. When was one needed? Was one ever, in the whole history of our world, needed more than now? I say again, when a Prophet was in the Church, he could warn the members, of dangers at hand, though in the future. Can the Pope do this? Can the archbishop of Canterbury do this? Can any of the celebrated divines of Christendom do this? Alas! no. They profess not the gift of prophecy. The societies under the guidance of these teachers have no means of knowing the breakers ahead, and consequently have no security for the future. These reverend guides are blind guides, and those they lead know not how soon a fearful fall into the ditch may occur, to the damage of all parties concerned.

Certain persons tell us that the end of time is at hand, that grievous judgments are about to fall on the world, that wars and violence will shortly prevail, and every manÕs hand will be turned against his fellow’s, until desolation shall lay waste the nations. Now these are serious matters. Those Christian teachers who tell us of them, do it on the mere strength of uninspired judgment on the prophecies of dead Prophets. Notwithstanding this, the things may be true. But as long as we are not certain of their truth, we are living in a not very agreeable state of doubt and anxiety. Now who can release us from this state, and set our minds at rest on one side or the other of this question? Who can tell us whether these things are about to occur or not? If they are about to happen, is any preparation necessary on the part of the righteous, in order to their escaping the threatened troubles? If any preparation is necessary, how is it to be set about? Who can answer these questions? Can the Pope? Can any cardinal, archbishop, bishop, dean, priest, travelling or local preacher tell us? No. None of these have the spirit of prophecy, and consequently none know more definitely of the future than we do ourselves. All is doubt, all is darkness, all is uncertainty. In the midst of this uncertainty, how glorious it would be if a living Prophet existed, to tell us the truth, to give us the word of the Lord about these things, to tell us whether danger was near or distant, and, if near, to point out the best place and the precise time for escape for the danger. We know that the dead Prophets wrote that the day of the Lord should come [133] as a thief in the night, but we also know that the people of God shall be children of the day, and that day shall not overtake them as a thief in the night. But they will not be children of the day, if they know no more of the future than the Christian world do. No people can be children of the day unless they have a Prophet living amongst them to see what is coming. People that have not a Prophet living amongst them are children of the night, and of course cannot see any coming calamity until too late.

The inhabitants of Christendom are children of the night, they know not what is before them, the secrets of the Lord are not with them, they know not His purposes, and consequently cannot be prepared for the marvellous events which dead Prophets have foretold shall occur in the last days.

How has the work of the ministry been carried on since the Lord had a Prophet living upon the earth? Hundreds and thousands of teachers have arisen, and have preached divers kinds of doctrines, and have called upon mankind to believe and obey those doctrines, upon pain of eternal damnation. God did not send these teachers, they ran before they had received any authority from Him. This was plainly manifested by the disagreement of their messages. Had these teachers been sent of Him, they would have all preached “one Lord, one faith, one baptism,” for God is one God, and there exists but one Gospel and one name under heaven whereby men can be saved–that Gospel is the truth, that name is the Lord Jesus Christ.

Has God owned the labours of these uninspired teachers, and will their bindings and loosings be recognized in the heavens? No. Paul said–“Though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other Gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.” And has God dishonoured Paul’s word? Verily not. Has not Christendom been cursed with thick darkness, since a living Prophet existed upon the earth? Have not the priests contended with one another, as is declared in the Book of Mormon, and taught with their worldly learning, and denied the Holy Ghost, which giveth utterance. Have not the people, instead of coming to the unity of the faith, become daily more and more divided among themselves? Are they not, instead of being men [134] and women in Christ Jesus, yet but little children in heavenly things? Have they not more need to milk than of strong meat? Instead of teaching others, have they not much need of being themselves taught again the first principles of the Gospel? Christians talk of increasing in the knowledge of God–who can show that Christendom has advanced one iota in heavenly knowledge since a living Prophet led the Church? It cannot be shown. What does Christendom know of God without a Prophet, more than the primitive Church knew with a Prophet? Does Christendom know half as much of God and heaven, of salvation and eternal life, than the primitive Church did? No. All the knowledge of God that Christendom is in possession of is what is contained in a few dusty letters and narrations which dead Prophets have chanced to leave on record. If Christendom has made any progress at all, it has been similar to that of the school boy–two steps backward for one step forward. In fact, so divided, so powerless has Christendom become, that many earnest men begin to write it a failure.

Thus, it will be seen, that a living Prophet is necessary upon the earth to carry on the work of the ministry, to unfold the knowledge of God to the people, to settle controversy upon doctrine, to unite the people of God and make them one, to point out the dangers of the future, so that they can be avoided, and, in short, to act as the representative of God upon the earth until men shall become perfect, and be prepared to be ushered into the presence of their Maker. It is vain to trust any longer to uninspired men in these matters. Uninspired teachers have filled the world with doubt, darkness, distrust, division, strife, war, and bloodshed, but have not taught one soul the way of eternal life, have not made one soul perfect, and cannot, without the aid of a living Prophet, take the first step towards either their own salvation or the salvation of those who cling to them.

There must be somebody upon the earth, who can speak with authority, and not as the scribes, before the various jarring, fighting sects of men are united as one. There must be a living Prophet–the representative of the majesty of heaven, upon the earth, whose word shall be a law–the law of God, unto the people, and whose decision [135] shall bear an end of controversy to men, before much progress can be made in bringing them to the “unity of the faith,” or in perfecting them. So long as there is no one to give the word of the Lord upon disputed subjects, there is no hope of a solid decision being made, and men will be ever liable to be tossed to and fro with every wind of doctrine, as has been the case for many past centuries.

What is it that men want in order to grow in knowledge until they shall attain to the fulness of their Father in heaven? They want a leader, a master mind, a man of authority, a connecting link between this and a higher sphere, a sure channel through which the knowledge that dwells in the bosom of the Father can be communicated in unsullied dreams to mankind, that the way to eternal life may be pointed out with unerring precision, and humanity gradually but surely approximate to Deity. When God organized the Church, He made provision for this want, but Christendom does not present that provision now. The Roman Catholics, indeed, do profess to have that provision in their Church now, but if we examine closely, we find that the Pope professes to be the man of authority, but not the channel of intelligence. All his intelligence hangs on dead Prophets, and the best he can make of his position is this–if there had been no Prophets of old he would have had no authority, no intelligence. So it is plain that, if we go to the root of the matter, the Pope has no more authority than anyone else. All his authority and all his intelligence he derives from the dead Prophets, he hangs on them entirely, instead of hanging upon God, consequently it is vain to look to the Pope for increase of intelligence, he is not a living Prophet, neither does he give the word of the Lord upon any matter.

Not only in spiritual matters but also in temporal matters, it is necessary that a living Prophet should direct. As physical power should ever be subject to moral power, so should temporal things ever be subject to spiritual things, and be directed by spiritual powers. Ah! some may say, this is the cloven hoof of priestcraft! this is Church and State doctrine! We’ll have none of that! Just as you please, good friends. If you think that the flesh should govern the spirit, that the spirit should be subject [136] to the body, that the things of the present life are superior to the things of the next, you are welcome to your notions, but other people must be at liberty to hold their private opinions too, and not only to hold them but to tell them. It is said that there is to be a Millennium–a thousand years reign of peace and happiness upon the earth, when there is to be one king upon the earth, and his name one, to whom every knee must bow, and when the people shall “beat their swords into plough-shares, and their spears into pruning-hooks nations neither shall they learn war any more.” Well! reader, that will be a great and glorious time, especially for Cobden and Bright, and Quakers, and Peace Societies, but have you any idea how this “good time will be brought about?” Perhaps not a distinct one. The times do not look very flattering any how. Ever and anon a dark “speck of war” rises ominously above the horizon of the nations. The Russian bear growls as though he would have a brush with somebody, if he cannot gain his ends by craft. The Gallic cock crows defiance. The British lion makes a show of magnanimous forbearance, except in the South and East. The American eagle has a keen eye for land, gold, fish, and black flesh, and is apt to be rather saucy over them. Now, how can these opposing elements be arranged so as to agree and mutually aid and strengthen each other, without any fear of collision and explosion? Ah! that’s the question for statesmen and preachers. The statesman says the “balance of power” keeps peace amongst the nations. The preacher says the “grace of God” constrains men to love each other. But supposing one scale of the balance should kick the beam, as has been the case heretofore, and God should withdraw His grace, and leave men to the imaginations of their own hearts–how then for peace, and a Millennium? I tell thee what, reader, if God has not a living Prophet upon the earth to direct even in temporal affairs, there is no guarantee for security. All the beautiful dreams of the poets, concerning liberty, equality, fraternity, and universal brotherhood, will fail of fulfillment, so long as God is kept out of the matter. And if He is in the matter, He will have a Prophet as His representative upon the earth. It may be possible to produce the grand spectacle, of one sovereign swaying a sceptre universal upon the earth, and yet he not be a [137] Prophet. But if a sovereign sway a universal sceptre upon the earth, and he be not a servant of God, universal peace will not be the result. Men would know that God alone has the right to universal rule, or to dictate a universal ruler, upon the earth, and consequently the fire of rebellion would be there and would burn in secret until the moment of revengeful outburst. The world’s history shows this. Only under a universal government can universal temporal and spiritual peace be enjoyed, and there can be no enduring universal government but that of God, consequently only under the guiding hand of a Prophet can lasting, universal peace and harmony be established. Under a universal government, the interest of each is the interest of all, and the interest of all is the interest of each. But a house divided against itself, however bolstered up by a “balance of power,” cannot stand. The whole question of salvation, temporal and spiritual, thus resolves itself into a question of authority. There is no true authority on earth or in heaven but that of God, and God exercises His authority upon the earth, when not personally, through the medium of a living Prophet. Hence the necessity for one existing upon the earth in all ages. (Mill. Star 15:545-548, 569-572, 587-589, 604-607)


The Mormons–The Mahometans

of the Nineteenth Century

(From the New York Herald)

August 13, 1853

Philosophers tell us that the grand law of human progression does not hold good in respect of moral and metaphysical science. If this be true–and we see no reason to doubt it–if, while we may safely consider the steam engine, the printing press, the loom, and the telegraph, to be the imperishable and inalienable property of man, we have no guarantee for the stability of our religious creeds and schools of ethics–if our descendants may be found more gross and earthly in their passions, more debased in their feelings and desires, than we are–the birth and infancy of new religious doctrines and strange sects deserve a peculiarly careful notice at our hands. At a time when a devout Abbe confesses, with deep sorrow, that [138] Christianity can no longer keep pace with the intellectual progress of the world; and a mitred orator is heard to declare his conviction of the inadequacy of the Protestant doctrine to satisfy the popular craving for mental food; when the converts made by countless missionaries abroad are two few to supply the void created by desertions at home–we may be permitted, perhaps, for argument’s sake, to suppose for a moment that the present forms of Christianity will pass away, and to ask the appalling question–What religion is to succeed them? At what shrine will posterity kneel? Some worship of a higher Being is an imperative want in the human heart–some source of morality, nobler than a mere penal code, is absolutely indispensable to cement the elements of society. Among the new schools of religion which are springing up around us, is there any which can absorb Protestant and Catholic, Unitarian and Freethinker, and substitute a new faith for future ages?

We leave speculative philosophy to suggest a reply. But we cannot refrain from making a few brief remarks, on the growth and prospects of the most remarkable of the many religious factions which have come to light in this country.

While to the thoughtless reader, the name of Mormonism is only suggestive of ribald epigrams on the continency of Mr. Brigham Young, and the existence of the sect is treated as a mere joke, the eyes of thinking men are fixed on the young settlement of Deseret, with apprehensions of no common magnitude. The colony of Salt Lake is no assemblage of hairbrained socialists, or Agapemone of rogues and dupes–a haunt of hypocrisy and beastly licentiousness; Brigham Young and his followers are neither idle knaves nor corrupt profligates. The stumbling-blocks which have led to the downfall of so many false sects, have been avoided by the Mormons. Their religious code is imbued with enough mysticism to attract the imaginative; but it is linked and coupled with a moral law framed on the wisest basis.

“We believe,” say the Mormons, “in being honest, true, chaste, temperate, benevolent, virtuous, and upright, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul; `We believe all things, we [139] hope all things,’ we have endured very many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. Everything lovely, virtuous, praiseworthy, and of good report, we seek after, looking forward `to the recompense of reward.’ But an idle or lazy person cannot be a Christian, neither have salvation; he is a drone, and deserves to be stung to death, and tumbled out of the hive.”

Despite all the calumnious tales which have been circulated, we have every reason to believe that the Mormons are just in their dealings, and kind and charitable both to strangers and to each other. Polygamy, it is true, is practiced among them, and has been severely used as a weapon in the hands of their assailants. But so far from being made subservient to depraved passions, it is only tolerated in order to increase the number of the faithful, and on the principle quoted above, that drones–whether male or female–must be driven from the hive. Female chastity and conjugal fidelity are essential virtues; adultery and illicit intercourse will be punished with death by the Mormon code. Both honour and religion oblige the man whose wife, daughter, or sister, has been injured, to kill the seducer.

It would be foreign to our purpose to attempt to analyze their religious belief. It is an eclectic compound of Christianity, Platonism, Brahminism, Mahometanism, and that new spiritual philosophy, which, under various names, is captivating the superstitious minds of the nineteenth century. It is peculiarly calculated to satisfy the aspirations of those who feel a void in their hearts, which Christianity cannot fill. Like all successful sects, the political constitution of the Mormons is a pure despotism, the President, or Chief Priest, holding undisputed sway over the property and persons of his subjects. But according to the testimony of an apparently trustworthy writer, “There is not (among the Mormons) the usual man-worship found in the admirers of splendid abilities and achievements of the founders of religious sects”–“each man watches, with an eagle eye, that first principles are adhered to, and stands ready to proclaim apostacy in chief or layman”–and “there seems to be as fair a sample of intelligence, moral probity, and good [140] citizenship (among them), as can be found in any Christian community.”

Whether Joseph Smith did or did not deal in imposture, a sect established on such principles as these, and which, after a struggling existence of twenty years, counts its votaries by hundreds of thousands, is entitled to something more than sarcastic and contemptuous sneers. These but add fuel to the zeal of the acolytes; persecution braces their energies, and strengthens their convictions. While we look on with indifference, thousands in Europe and America are silently enrolling themselves under the banner of Mormonism. Where is this to end?

All religions, which have been at the same time civil polities, have been the work of a single individual, and have seemed, in their origin, insignificant and ridiculous. Abraham was the inspired founder of a sect which was destined to become immortal, and to practice usury and sell old clothes throughout all generations; for many centuries it was but a family. Egypt fought long against the hardy priests of Isis; they purchased victory with their blood. Little did Zoroaster think, when he taught his disciples the pure tenets of his simple faith, that Persia would one day hold him to be a God, and that his creed would become the established religion of the empire. Theseus and Romulus founded religions which were also polities; how petty were their beginnings, how dis-heartening the scorn of their neighbours? Yet each in turn threatened to subjugate the world. Who has not heard of or stood in the damp vaults of the catacombs? where the trembling few, who constituted the elect Christian church, used to meet and pray that they might be permitted to practice with impunity a novel, harmless, moral form of worship, which was destined to fill the universe! Thus it has been with all. Cradled in martyrdom–physical or moral, according to the age–new forms of belief have grown to puberty, and in the plenitude of their strength have defied the scythe of time. They are all gone but the tottering Church of Christ. None was better, perchance, than the other–the chief merit of each successive creed was its fitness for the times.

How singular, how teeming with food for speculation, the contrast between Mahomet and Joseph Smith! Both [141] were men of indomitable energy, vivid imagination, and extraordinary power over the masses. Both believed a great portion of what they taught, but did not scruple to varnish their tale with flights of fancy. Both date their mission from a vision from heaven–the command was given to both by a messenger from God. Neither attempted to uproot or destroy, but to renovate. Pristine simplicity was the avowed aim of both; Islamism was an attempt to restore the days of Moses and Elias; Mormonism looks to the early ages of the Church as a model. Both Mahomet and Smith sacrifice the social happiness of the female sex to the interest of the state, by tolerating polygamy. The machinery of both religions requires the intervention of supernatural beings–genii in the one, angels and Seers in the other. Both appeal as well to the senses as to the moral perceptions–the pleasures of conviviality and wholesome ablutions are inculcated by both creeds. The Koran and the Book of Mormon, acknowledge alike, one God, supreme, infinite; and from the name of the deity that of his prophet is inseparable in prayer in both. Many points of resemblance can be found in the iman of Mahometans, and the articles of Mormon belief. Both look forward to a millennium of earth, when peace, plenty, and brotherhood shall reign–both foretell a glorious resurrection, in which the body shall be perfected, incorruptible. Both inculcate the soundest tenets of morality. Mahomet and Smith were equally successful in rousing the populace by impassioned oratory; tumults follow; Mahomet’s adherents fly from Mecca; the Mormons are expelled from Jackson County. The Koreish bind themselves by a league to have no communication with the new sect; the Presbyterians and Methodists declare that no reliance can be placed on contracts entered into by Mormons. Dissensions break out in both camps, Smith is not a whit less energetic than Mahomet in repressing them, and monopolizing the supreme control. Driven from Mecca to Tayef, thence back to Mecca, and again forced to fly to Medina, Mahomet staked his life on the success of his cause. The Mormons–men, women, and children–are brutally hunted out of Zion in mid-winter–boys of nine years of age are murdered in cold blood–defenseless men are trod under foot till their bowels gushed forth; the wearied exiles, [142] hardly obtaining from their persecutors time to complete the idol of their hearts–their temple, are banished from Nauvoo, and the merciless enmity of fanaticism is now close on their tracks in the distant Valley of Salt Lake.

Here the parallel fails. Mahomet, driven to desperation, unites his little band of followers at Medina, makes a political question of his creed, and after defeating a thousand men, with a small force, barely exceeding a hundred, resolves to propagate Islamism by the sword, conquers invincible Arabia in nine years, and dies, leaving behind him half a continent of proselytes. Joe Smith, at a time when his martyrdom did more for his cause than the most brilliant feats of prowess, is savagely murdered at Carthage. He leaves behind him a devoted band of adherents, sealed to the faith by their adoration of his memory, and sworn to avenge him. His successor possesses all the qualities which were wanting in Smith–prudence, foresight, cautious policy. Mormonism has ceased to be a mere question of religious doctrine; a political question of his cree its unparalleled growth, its novel polity, its attractive garb, has already drawn the anxious eye of statesmen upon the Utah settlement. Men have not been wanting to advocate the entire extermination of the sect, and experience is rife with examples of similar acts of fanaticism. Should the blood-thirsty bigots who would extirpate Mormonism, obtain the preponderance in our national councils, (which God forbid,) the most desperate valour would be found among the persecuted race. Every spur which can goad man to heroism–the love of country, of religion, of liberty, the voice of natural affection, and the supernatural influence of a belief in a divine mission–would unite to render their armies invincible. On the other side, mean envy and cowardly persecution are not likely to inspire deeds of daring.

We forbear to speculate on the probable result. Once already, in times long gone by, the banners of Christianity and Islamism were unfurled in hostile array, and the faith of the world depended on a successful charge. Had the prowess of Charles Martel forsaken him on the plains of Tours, the conqueror, Abderame, would have overrun Europe, and mosques might now have stood wherever the spires of Christian churches point to realms above. [143] “History,” says the philosopher, “constantly repeats itself; but each successive revolution is the birth of a new era.”


Mahometanism and Mormonism

We are not aware of any impurity in the law of Mahomet; on the contrary, it is particularly strict and temperate; it forbids even the use of wine, music, and dancing, and all manner of licentiousness. Perhaps our correspondent’s mind is dwelling exclusively on its polygamic indulgence; but if polygamy be sufficient to blast its reputation for temperance, in spite of all its other mortifications, it must have an equal effect on the law of Moses. Indeed, the law of Mahomet is more strict in respect to marriage than the law of Moses. But though polygamy be adapted to an inferior state of civilization, namely, barbarism, it should not be forgotten that it has the effect of preserving society, to a considerable extent, from one of the grossest and foulest peculiarities of Christian civilization. We are not aware that any Christian authority, human or divine, has ever said that Mahometans should not enjoy everlasting life. The Scriptures say that, in every nation, he that feareth God and worketh righteousness is accepted of Him; and they also say, that there is no name in heaven or on earth by which we can be saved but that of Christ. But they give us no authority to deny the truth of the first of these passages, and twist the other into an ungenerous meaning. The Mahometans are a much purer people than the Jews ever were.

  1. Lyman, George S., and Forget-Me-Not, all treat of Mormon Polygamy. The first two justify it by quoting the Patriarchs and the Sweet Singer of Israel, the man after God’s own heart; and they say, that surely such men could never have been so highly favoured if the practice were absolutely immoral. Forget-Me-Not is a lady, and is deeply concerned at the immorality of the practice, and apparently fearful of its making progress, if not checked by Scriptural argument; so she labours hard to make the Scriptures condemn it. But it is not a Scriptural question at all, any more than slavery; and if we are to be guided by Scripture in these matters, both slave-owners and Mormon polygamists will have the advantage. There is no [144] more danger of going back into slavery and polygamy, because the Patriarchs practiced them, than there is of returning to bestial sacrifices for a similar reason. Forget-Me-Not may rest content upon the subject, and suffer the Mormon arguments to fly over her head, like the idle wind that she regards not. But we advise her not to attempt to force the Bible to speak a language which it does not speak; this is not candid. We have looked at her clear passage (Malachi ii, and 16), but it has no reference whatever to polygamy. It has been supposed that polygamy is forbidden in the 2nd verse of the 7th chapter of the 1st Corinthians; but it is doubtful. The law, however, of Christendom forbids it, and the law of nature forbids it, except in exceptional circumstances, for the sexes are nearly equal in number.–Family Herald. (Mill. Star 15:533-536)



  1. W. Richards, editorial

August 13, 1853

The Lord has opened up this great and last dispensation by restoring the Everlasting Covenant to man, and covenant-making is one prominent feature of the plan of salvation. All covenants have their obligations, and the faithful discharge of those obligations brings certain blessings and rewards. But on the other hand, when covenants are violated, and their obligations dishonoured, penalties, equal in magnitude with the nature and importance of the covenants that are broken, are incurred.

The blessings of salvation are received by virtue of covenant. When men covenant to keep the commandments of God, He gives them of His Spirit; and in keeping the obligations of that covenant, by receiving the ordinances, a relationship of the most exalted character is formed. If the individual honours that relationship so as to obtain the blessings of his covenants, the Lord soon reveals greater blessings and privileges, which the individual can enjoy in the family by coming under the obligations of another covenant equal in importance with the honours and favours to be enjoyed; neither does the principle stop [145] here, but covenant succeeds covenant, until man, through his faithfulness to them, becomes one with the Son of God–a joint heir to the kingdoms, dominions, glory, and power of the Father. It is not attained to in a day, a month, nor a year, neither is this short life sufficient to possess all things, but the right of them may be secured by keeping all the covenants of the holy Priesthood, and they are many. There is also a penalty attached to all covenants, and as mercy and rewards are obtained by sacredly keeping them, so justice and punishments are as surely meted out to the transgressor. The punishment attached to the breaking of our first covenants is the withdrawal of the Spirit of God. The violation of other covenants would be punishable with immediate death and destruction in this world, but leaving power to come forth in the first resurrection. Others of still greater magnitude, if broken, would doom the transgressor to ruin, both in this world and in the world to come; while others again are of that magnitude, that, if broken, there is no redemption, but the transgressors of such covenants become angels to the Devil, and they cannot come where God and Christ dwell, worlds without end.

To have to do with covenants which in anywise involve our eternal destiny, is a matter of no small moment. The covenants and obligations of the holy Priesthood are eternal in their consequences, and, when entered into with God, and recognized by Him, they are not only made by virtue of an eternal principle, but they are made with an Eternal Being.

There are other covenants administered by this Priesthood, in which man is recognized as the higher power, while in those already referred to, he is the lesser or dependent one. The most important perhaps of all these is the marriage covenant.

As we do not here purpose to discuss the nature of that covenant, suffice it to say, that it is, in principle, precisely similar to those made with higher beings. The great object of covenanting with the Lord Jesus Christ, is to become one with him, that each may enjoy all the blessings, privileges, glory, honour, and power, which either may be capable of imparting or receiving. The union of the sexes, by virtue of the marriage covenant, is [146] for the same object and purpose, and entitles each to all the blessings, glory, dominion, and power, which can spring from the other, or which can grow out of the union. By virtue of this, they twain become ONE. Both of these covenants are equally applicable to all beings; and all who are capable of honouring them, should enter into them, and receive their blessings, or they cannot attain to a fulness of glory. Otherwise it would be in vain that those covenants were ever ordained for the use of man.

Now it is because of the folly of many, that we write concerning the marriage covenant. There are those who profess to be Saints, and even Elders, (though we speak it to their shame,) who have families, and who will go about making covenants, privately, with young women, which they have no right to make, and know not that they will ever be able to keep. This course is not only directly opposed to the regulations and restrictions of the laws pertaining to the marriage covenant, but exhibits a degree of folly which is the fruits of profound ignorance, or a great degree of wickedness. Such men who would venture upon the privileges and blessings of such a covenant, without permission from God who ordained it, through His servant holding the keys thereof upon the earth, would forfeit all claim to its rights, and inherit a curse. When covenants are made, obligations are created, and those obligations must be fulfilled, or condemnation follows, and a penalty is incurred. When covenants are made at a time, and under circumstances, when the blessings of those covenants cannot be enjoyed, the Devil takes the advantage of that unwise position, and oft times makes those unlawful obligations the very instrument of a man’s destruction. In this way many have fallen victims to their own unprincipled conduct.

When men place so small an estimate upon the marriage covenan t, as to indulge in making covenants with women when and where no benefits can arise from them, and when they are ignorant of whether they would ever be permitted to keep them, we look upon such men as those who would be the first to dishonour such covenants. And we would advise all good women, both old and young, to be careful how they become ensnared by such characters. Those who will thus trifle with sacred things, [147] and indulge in trespassing beyond the limits of their right, in making covenants, will find those covenants not only a source of trouble, but in most cases they will result in lasting shame and reproach. How often we hear of the ruin of both men and women, who have perhaps innocently ventured to tread upon the grounds of covenant-making, and who have proven it to be but the first step to their future misery–grounds upon which they were unauthorized to tread, hence they could not divine the consequences.

It is supposed, by many, that some Elders who are travelling in the ministry, are entitled to some wonderful privileges, because they have come from Zion; but we will here admit that our ignorance is so great, that we do not know of one in the British Isles, who, having a wife living, is privileged by the law of God to make a marriage covenant, in public or in private, with any other woman; and we hope none of the sisters will feel bad because such is the case. It is very common for men in England to have wives who cannot agree to live with them, but even in such cases, men are not authorized to make contracts of marriage with other women, before a lawful divorce is obtained.

We would say, therefore, to all such men of families, cease your covenant-making with women, which can in any wise have a bearing upon their future destiny, or yours; if you do not, you will lose the Spirit, and be brought to shame. This is particularly applicable to Elders, and if given heed to, they will not get into such a tremendous hurry to go to Zion, just because they think they can get another wife there. Some men with lustful desires suffer their affections to be weaned from their companions, and sacrifice a family, which they ought to cherish as their own lives, to follow their depraved appetites, which are leading them down to Hell; and all is done under the cloud of religious liberty, while some women are so weak as to follow such Elders, and feed their appetites.

The Lord has most strictly guarded the relationship of the sexes, and He will not suffer such things to be trifled with, therefore He has said that whoso looketh upon a woman to lust after her, shall lose the Spirit, and if he [148] does not repent shall deny the faith. What could be more jealously protected, when, without any outward commission of crime, which the law could recognize, a man is liable to an apostate’s doom! This is a punishment which the Lord has decreed shall come upon those who thus trifle with the affections and desires of the human soul. No one need go into the dark to do his deeds of wickedness, and say “no eye seeth me,” nor make his unlawful covenants in secret, and say, “no one knoweth it;” for this decree of the Almighty will reach all such cases, and such persons may be sure their sins will find them out, when the Spirit has forsaken them, and they are left withered branches–exhibitions of God’s displeasure.

Every soul should govern and control the affections, energies, and powers with which it is endowed. It is the use we make of the abilities and faculties which God has given us, that determines our worthiness in his sight. We are mainly prompted by our affections–they are a wonderful stimulus to all our actions. If the affections are fully controlled, every motive and desire which springs from the exercise of them, will be pure and holy; but if the affections are suffered to run out heedlessly, and are lavished upon everything that may appear pleasing or desirable, the judgment will be overcome, and reason itself will finally be brought in subjection to uncontrolled passions.

The love and affections of the soul should be placed upon those things which are eternal, and from which they need never be broken off. When this is done, the affection can be developed and matured, without fear of being destroyed; and hopes of happiness can ripen into joys unspeakable. When the affections are destroyed, hopes are blasted, and the soul writhes under the agony of disappointment, until, not unfrequently, relief is found in a premature death. The experience of many a fond heart, purely innocent, yet betrayed, and the dictates of wisdom, would say, Love what God loves, admire what God admires, and honour what God honours. But when woman so far draws upon the fountain of her soul, as to voluntarily give her eternal interests and destiny into the hands of any man, let it be to one who is responsible, and one who will so far requite her love, as to protect her interests at the [149] sacrifice of his life. Jesus laid down his life to save the family which was given to him to exalt, and men should not take upon themselves the responsibility of the salvation of others, with any other expectation but to do as he has done. If men who hold the Priesthood of God, duly appreciated their position, we think they would not require to be cautioned about making covenants; and if women appreciated their dependence upon men, they would be more careful upon whom they placed it. (Mill. Star 15:536-539)



Elder Elias L. T. Harrison

August 27, 1853

The necessity for the establishment and existence of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints upon the earth, is to be found in the fact, that previous to its organization in 1830, no true church of Christ was existing upon the earth, a universal apostasy from that system having prevailed. This I will proceed to prove.

The word Apostasy, means a departure from anything that may have been believed or practiced, therefore in order to prove an apostasy from the Church of Christ, we must first establish clearly what order of organization or practice constituted that Church. Then if there has been a universal departure, or apostasy, from that system, it will be self-evident, and will require but little comment.

The Church established by Jesus Christ was chiefly distinguished by the following characteristics–its organization; its claims; and is proceedings, including its government, and some peculiar internal evidence which flowed as results of the system.

Its organization was not an accidental arrangement of its parts, but consisted of a beautiful and orderly distribution of powers and authorities. Apostles stood at the helm, and steered its course over nations and countries. Under these came Seventies, Evangelists, Bishops, Elders, Teachers, and Deacons. These officers were not merely nominal, but their appointment is stated, by Paul, to have been “for the perfecting of the Saints, for the work of the ministry,” and for “helps and governments.”

[150] These authorities sustained the same relative importance and use to each other and the members of the Church, that the members of the human body so gloriously combined are found to sustain. As the human tabernacle, when tenanted, presents a splendid amalgamation of powers, senses, and energies, all subservient to one will, so did the above organization exhibit a union as perfect, a combination of parts as essential for the existence of the whole, and a subserviency to the will of the Head, as complete as those manifested in the human system, and this sufficiently to entitle the Church to call itself the “body of Christ.”

The above is indisputable, all the organization quoted is on record in the New Testament.

I will now produce its claims. These were–that its authorities were the representatives of God upon the earth, and to reject or receive them was to reject or receive the Almighty.–Matt. x. 40; that it held power to open the Kingdom of God, and admit believers, and, in certain cases of transgression, to reject the transgressors from the Kingdom of God, and deliver them over to Satan.–1 Cor. v. 5; 1 Tim. i. 20. It claimed power to bind on earth, and to have the same bound in heaven; to loose, with the same effect–Matt. xvi. 19; to remit sins, or retain them–John xx. 23; to impart the Holy Ghost to believers, by the laying on of hands–Acts viii. 17; 1 Tim iv. 14; and to cast out devils–Mark xvi. 17; in a few words, it spoke and acted like Jehovah upon the earth, and asserted for itself that it was the “pillar and ground of the truth”–1 Tim iii. 15. Here were claims and authority worthy of its organization, and stated in so many words in the Scriptures referred to.

It is usual to oppose these truths, by stating that the Scriptures from which the inferences are drawn, are ambiguous texts. But these are false statements, made to diminish the force of Scriptures too plainly proving the apostasy of the opposers, to be palatable. What more ambiguity is there in the words, “Whosoever sins you remit they are remitted, whosoever sins you retain they are retained,” than in the words, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved?” The fact of the matter is, men have found it impossible to apply such words to [151] themselves, or the miserable imitations called churches, to which they have belonged, and consequently they have been driven to the choice of either acknowledging the existence of Scriptures that confounded themselves, or of hiding up the passages from view or consideration altogether, by dubbing them “ambiguous.”

Having briefly examined the organization and claims of the ancient Church, I will now draw attention to its government and procedures.

Its government was by the officers before-mentioned, acting directly under the counsel of the Almighty. Continual revelation was its constant guide, in fact such wondrous powers and authority could not be managed by any men without continual revelation to guide them, for it is easy to see, that to invest men with such powers, and then to leave those men to themselves, and to shut up the fountain of revelation, would be to give the world over to priest craft and damnation. This view of the case upsets the pretensions of the revelation-denying Church of Rome, who, while she claims infallibility, denies the very means by which alone she could be instructed and controlled in the use of power and authority; about as reasonable an idea as that of giving a gun into the hands of a blind man, and allowing him to shoot with it!

Here, then dear reader, I have laid before you three prominent features of the church established by the Son of God, the case has been fairly stated without any exaggeration for the purpose of effect. And now I ask, did such a Church, with such an organization, such claims and authority, such a mode of procedure or government, exist on the earth previous to the rise of the Church of Latter-day Saints. The answer must be, from Roman Catholics, No! from members of the Church of England, No! most emphatically, No! and as the Dissenting sects bear even less resemblance, on the points named, to the ancient Church, their answer must be even a louder No! than the others’!

Should this be disputed, I will compare, and take the first particular, that of “Organization.” Where, I ask, can the counterpart of this be found? Will it be amongst either of the three above-mentioned systems? It is an indisputable fact that they cannot exhibit it.

[152] How little these churches look like the Church of Christ, when placed by its side! Hear one and then the other on the subject of organization.

Church of Christ. “God hath set some in the Church, first, Apostles; secondly, Prophets; thirdly, Pastors and Teachers, helps and government,” &c.

Church of Rome. “God hath set some in the Church, firstly, Popes; secondly, Cardinals; thirdly, Bishops,” &c.

Church of England. “God hath set some in the church, firstly Archbishops; secondly, Bishops; thirdly, Deans,” &c. &c.

Dissenting Sects. “God hath set some in the Church, firstly, Traveling Preachers; secondly, Local Preachers; thirdly Class Leaders, Deacons,” &c.

Much alike, dear reader, are they not? It is not a curious thing that all people, especially Latter-day Saints, should be so blind as not to see the similarity between ancient and modern churches!

Supposing, to help the Protestant Churches out of the difficulty, we adopt their oft-repeated dogma, that “not singly, but together, they constitute the Church of Christ;” then, as neither party acknowledges the pre-eminence of either of the other, over its own peculiar head, it will read thus–“God hath set some in the Church, firstly, Popes, Archbishops, and Traveling Preachers; secondly, Cardinals, Bishops, and Local Preachers; and, thirdly, Bishops, Deans, and Class-leaders!

How the resemblance is increased! How beautifully they amalgamate together! If Paul were alive now, would not he have scope for his eloquence, in comparing the above systems, which by bands and joints are so firmly (?) knit together, to the human body which is thus united? Will not that man who resists the statement that modern churches are continuations of the one established by the Son of God, be under condemnation, when they are so evidently (?) alike?

It must be allowed, on all hands, that as far as organization goes, there has been a universal apostasy from the ancient system. Now if such an order or arrangement of authorities, endowed with such powers, was essential in the infancy of the church, when its’ numbers were few, it must be so now that the Church is [153] supposed to have increased its boundaries, swell its numbers, and to be carrying operations in all parts of the globe.

We must either allow the above, or believe the following absurdity –that God, after devising and instituting a well organized system of government in His Church, while small and limited in its operation, removed this orderly and effective system as soon as the church became enlarged and complex, and left it to hit upon and follow any form of organization that might suit its fancy.

Now for the claims and authority of the ancient Church, the bare pretension to some of which, by the Church of Rome, has branded it with infamy in the eyes of Protestants. I need not ask whether a church possessed of the claims and authority of the ancient Church of Christ is in existence now, for did I want to conjure up a nightmare that would frighten all modern Christianity into fits, I should have only to portray the ancient Church with its assumptions and assertions of authority, and tell them that such a Church has been restored to the earth in these days. They would cry, Blasphemy! Blasphemy!

Compare the authority-denying and doctrine-speculating sects, in their decisions and pretensions, with the Apostolic Church, in its declarations–“It hath seemed good to the Holy Ghost and to us”–Acts xv. 28,. “We deliver such a one over to Satan. Whosoever sins we remit, they are remitted; whosoever sins we retain, they are retained. Whatsoever we bind on earth, is bound in heaven; whatsoever we loose on earth, is loosed in heaven. He that receiveth us, receiveth Jesus Christ; and he that receiveth not us, receiveth not Jesus Christ, nor the Almighty who sent him!”

On reviewing the claims and authority of the ancient Church, compared with modern systems professing to be identically the same, we are compelled to admit that the dissimilarity, in both organization and powers, is too great for any sane person to think there exists any connection between the two! The modern bear evidence of being of the earth earthy, contemptible, puerile, and inefficient; while the other carries with it an air of majesty, divinity, completeness, and perfection, worthy of its designer and establisher–God!

[154] With regard to the mode of procedure and government, I am saved the trouble of making a comparison here, for modern churches could not be insulted more than by charging them with being governed and conducted in the same way as the ancient Church–by inspired men, invested with the powers before-mentioned, guided, controlled, and directed by immediate and direct revelation.

Here, then, dear reader, to establish the point, that there has been a complete apostasy from the Church of Jesus Christ, I have laid before you three prominent features of that Church, and have shown an entire departure from that system on all three points. The Church of Rome alone can claim a resemblance on one point–that of declaration of authority, but I have shown that to reasonably possess this, she should be able to show that she possesses continual revelation to herself, for her guide; without the assistance of which she could not wield such tremendous powers.

The case, then, stands thus–if Jesus Christ’s Church existed on the earth, it was with a different organization, bereft of all its sublime claims, and conducted in an entirely different manner to what it was anciently. Such a miserable apology for a Church, Jesus Christ could never expect any one to recognize as belonging to him! Therefore, should it turn out by any means to be the case, notwithstanding the vast difference existing, that Catholic or Protestant systems apart, or together, constitute the true Church, I say, no one could ever be condemned for rejecting them, for how could we be supposed to know that churches so unlike Jesus Christ’s belonged to him, unless he had told us so! For if he has so frightfully altered his Church from the original pattern, that no one can recognize it, and has done it without giving even a hint that such an alteration might be expected, he alone is responsible for any ill effect, such as disobedience, that may occur in consequence.

But, perhaps, Jesus Christ authorized some one thus to transform his Church? Then who received the revelation by which it was done, and by what signs or wonders did God give evidence to the world that He approved of the alteration? Modern Christians teach us [155] that all fresh revelation ought to be attested with miracles and wonders!

Jesus Christ ushered in the Church, delineated in the Scriptures. What mighty Prophet introduced the churches delineated in the creeds and formulas of modern Christianity? The answer must be–no Prophet introduced them. But an evident alteration does exist! Then it must have been done by men without Jesus Christ’s sanction or recognition, and consequently all modern churches are apostate systems, the blighting, withering curse of confusion attends them; and, therefore, a necessity did exist for the establishment of such a Church as that professing to be the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and an affirmative answer must be given to the question, “Has there been an apostasy?” (Mill. Star 15:561-564)



By Elder John Hyde, Jr.

September 17, 1853


Obedience is a subject that cannot too much occupy the attention of man, although, generally speaking, the world are inclined to treat it with neglect. Obedience, in the world, is rather impulsive than conscientious. Men do not do right for the love of right, and hate evil for its own hideousness, but the fear of punishment, rather than affection for rectitude, holds many from transgression. This is a fact that our every day experience will prove to be true. From the earliest infancy to the most decrepit old age, the vast majority of men are deterred from the commission of sin, by fear of the punishment that will ensue. Childhood dreads to disobey its parent because of that parent’s frown. Youth fears the ridicule and contempt of the world. Manhood remembers there is a future; . . . rather than the love of virtue, have produced obedience. The law of nature, codes of penalties, and the rules of society are formed on this principle.

Obedience denotes the existence of a law, a law implies the existence of a law-giver. Who has a right to enunciate laws for the government of man? is a question both interesting and important. It is an incontrovertible [156] fact, that where no right to exact obedience is acknowledged, and where no power to enforce it exists, all must be approaching anarchy and confusion. While man has passions, the gratification of which would injure his fellow-man, and has not sufficient love for himself or for humanity to restrain his passions, then laws are necessary to restrict and intimidate him. If man desires to obtain certain blessings or rewards, these blessings are only to be obtained by obedience to certain laws. Politically, man is bound to obey the laws of his country for the benefit of his compatriots; religiously, he is obliged to conform to certain rules for his individual advantage. On disobedience to those political laws, the penalty will be inflicted; on disobedience to those religious laws, the punishment will ensue. Men say, that to transgress a human law would be folly, because of its effects in this life; then to transgress a divine law is far greater folly, because of its effects in eternity.

Who has authority to enunciate laws? Is a question, to which the world, from the foundation of society, to this age, have endeavored to frame a reply. To have laws, there must be lawgivers; for those laws to have influence, there must be penalties; for those penalties to be inflicted, there must be authorities. The Patriarch in the desert, like Abraham, was one of the most anciently established authorities; his family, and his flocks around him, swaying an influence without control or appeal; at one time deserting Hagar in the desert, at another, arming his males to pursue the kings, or at another time circumcising them. The shepherd kings of the east followed, who having united several tribes, or families, governed the whole. Such was Melchisedec, king of Salem, High Priest of God. Further on, we see several kings leaguing together for mutual support; or their subjects revolting against them, and creating republics, similar to the republics of Greece; or one mighty spirit, such as Alexander of Macedon, subjugating the whole, and erecting an empire. From the patriarchal, from the monarchical to the republican, from the republican to the despotic, men have essayed to discover a reply to the question, who has authority to enunciate laws? From the family council in the tent of the Patriarch, to the assembled synod in the halls of the [157] republics, have proceeded statutes, and from the palaces of despotism imperative mandates–however, it is not my intention to inquire into political authority, ancient or modern, but into the necessity of obedience to the commandments of God.

No reasoning mind will dispute the authority of God to give laws for the government of man. The Creator of the world by His limitless intelligence, omnipotent power, and infinite mercy, is entitled to command, and man is bound to obey. It is according to all principles of philosophy, that the wise can direct the ignorant. The wisdom of God is everywhere demonstrated–in every atom of dust, in every blade of grass, in every ray of light, and in every particle of vapor. The gentle dew drop imperiling the flower, or the mighty ocean engulfing the island; the animalcule discovered only by the microscope, or the giant megatherium; the rolling pebble, of the revolving world, all proclaim the unutterable majesty and infinite wisdom of their Creator. By His wisdom He is able to govern, by His power He is able to sustain. Would not disobedience to so great a Being be the acme of impotent folly?

Many of the anticipations for the future are to be obtained from the history of the past. Let us examine history, and try to find what have been the effects of disobedience. At its birth, the world rolled from the hands of its Creator, teeming with beauty, and abounding with the principle of life, unblemished by one stain, unmarred by one defect. Infinite wisdom regarded the creations of omnipotent power and pronounced them “very good.” Man was installed upon this globe. The symmetry of his person, the adaptation and fitness of its parts, the loveliness and grandeur of its proportions were great and glorious. Created in the image of God, formed and fashioned after the likeness of His lofty model, the companion of angels, receiving instructions from the high intelligences of heaven, who had obtained their knowledge in the councils of eternity, visited by, and conversing with, Jesus Christ, Adam stood noble and pure upon this once fair earth.

He sinned, he disobeyed the one law, and fell. And what a fall! from life to death! The dark veil of obscurity [158] was dropped between God and man; the world, rolling so gloriously near the source of all light, was hurled back into the abyss of darkness; man was ejected from Eden, and the garden of God was taken from the earth; the sea burst its barriers, and commenced to form channels, continents, and isles; the brute creation forgot their love and union, and began to war on each other. Such were the first effects of disobedience on the earth.

Where God has had a Church upon the earth, or has sent inspired Prophets to proclaim messages to man, He has ever inflicted judgments the most summary and complete on those who refused to obey. In the days of Noah, the world had waxed unclean and abominable, all flesh had corrupted its ways. Enoch had preached, and endeavored to establish Zion on the earth, but the earth was too foul for the purity of his principles, and he was translated with his band of noble and unyielding spirits. God gave Noah a revelation to proclaim the destruction of the wicked. He accomplished his mission amid the scorn and contempt of a contented world. They rejected Noah. Where are now the millions that once peopled the earth? Destroyed, and even the foundations of the globe have been broken up, and we are forced to sink into the seeking of geology to find a buried remnant of a passed world. The principle of death has entered yet more largely into the elements of the earth, and man, who used to number his centuries, now withers at three score years and ten, a victim of disobedience!

At a period still posterior in the history of man, we can discover a manifest example of the effects of disobedience. Lot inhabited Sodom, the Sodomites had become filthy and abominable, the Lord declared vengeance against them. Warned by angels, Lot advertised his neighbors of their danger. They rejected Lot! Now where is Sodom? Where the theater from scenes so horrible, the stage for a judgment so just? Destroyed by fire from heaven, and, as if earth herself was moved in anger against crimes so monstrous and foul, she has opened her bosom, engulfed the calcine remnants of those cities, and shed a dark and noisome tear upon the spot they occupied, for over their entombed ruins the Dead Sea now spreads her sluggish waters, as though the ground [159] cursed by sins so execrable should never again be the abode of man.

The children of Israel were driven by famine into Egypt. After centuries had rolled away, the Egyptians began to oppress and enslave them. God raised up a deliverer in Moses. The Egyptians despised and rejected him. By signs and by wonders were demonstrated the consequences of disobedience–the fire of pestilence was kindled, and plagues raged among the rebellious; armed with full authority for the execution of his dread mission, the destroying angel went forth; a wail ascended to God, that at the same time was the dirge of their dead, the song of Israel’s triumph, and the thundering testimony of the fearful effects of prolonged rebellion.

The Israelites departed, but still pursued by their relentless persecutors, guided by a pillar of fire by night, and shielded by a pillar of cloud by day, they crossed the Red Sea, and saw there the salvation of God, and the destruction of their enemies. The sea closed upon them, and the rushing of its released waters was the requiem of the fading power of Egypt. What is Egypt to-day? Where is the famous splendor of the once magnificent Thebes? Where the rich luxury of the once grand Memphis? They have passed away, and with them almost all of Egypt’s glory!

There is one thing remarkable in the history of the Jews–every nation fell, that rose against them. Where now are Babylon, Ninevah, and Rome? Fallen, to rise no more. We should ever reflect that these are the effects of disobedience to the commands of God, and or persecution of His chosen people. Dynasties have been established, the subverted, tyrants have sprung forth to tread the iron heel of despotism on a subjugated world, glorious spirits beaming with intelligence, have tabernacled among men, shedding a halo of light on surrounding darkness, but neither the prowess of the one, nor the wisdom of the others, could save their feeble systems that rose to fall, and were born to die.

From this brief examination of history, we learn the necessity of obedience to the commandments of God. If we wish a system to stand, its foundation must be true. Those systems whose principles were most true, have survived [160] the longest. We also learn that every nation which oppressed or persecuted the people of God was blotted out from the page of human existence, and also those who refused the message which that people brought.

We are told that in the last days, God would establish a kingdom that should never be subdued, but stand for ever. When that kingdom is established it will be incumbent on all men to receive it. To establish the Kingdom of God, in the days of Noah, it was necessary to give revelations, and inspire a Prophet. And Jesus declares that “as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be in the coming of the Son of man.” In the day of Noah, men were warned by Prophets, the obedient were saved, and the rebellious destroyed, so shall it be in the days of the coming of the Son of man. If obedience was necessary then, it is also requisite now. If disobedience was visited by judgments so summary and complete then, it will be visited with equally summary and complete judgments now. Jesus Christ also predicted that as it was in the days of Lot, so it should be in the days of his second coming. The Lord sent angels to warn Lot, who had just sufficient time to escape from the judgments by which the rebellious Sodomites were destroyed, so will it be in the dispensation of the fullness of times. Prophets like Noah will be raised up, angels like the visitors of Lot will be sent, the obedient will be saved, but the warning will find its terrible accomplishment in the ruin and despair of the rebellious and disobedient.

What! demand the world, will you contend against the nations? We have nothing to do with governments, our motto is love, and our weapon is truth. Antediluvians were destroyed, yet Noah and his seven companions were shut in the ark. Sodom and Gomorrah were consumed while Lot was a fugitive. The Red Sea engulfed the Egyptians, while the children of Israel only beheld it. Babylon has passed away like a dream, the Jews were mourning in captivity, and the Mede and Persian were their deliverers. The Roman empire was destroyed, and the Jews were dispersed and broken; Alaric, Sicambre, and hordes of north men were their avengers. The Lord has used the nations as a scourge for each other. The Prophet of the last days has been killed, the blood of his brethren has [161] been shed. Was there deliverance for the Jews in the dispensation of justice, and shall there not be succor for the Saints in the dispensations of justice and mercy combined? Verily yes!

But if obedience be so necessary, the world must hear and have the opportunity to obey! This Gospel of the kingdom, said Jesus, shall be preached to all the world for a witness. The Apostles and Seventies of this Church, will accomplish this prediction. Regardless of trials and suffering, they will mingle with every nation and people, and preach true liberty and proclaim salvation to the oppressed sons of the earth. The king of his throne, the president in the senate, the rich in their mansions, or the poor in their hovels, all will hear and all have the opportunity to obey. The furthest corner of the globe will not be too remote, the deepest valley will not be too profound, for the Elders of this Church in the exercise of their boundless charity.

Already the progress of the principles of truth has commenced to astonish the world. Born as of yesterday, they have gone to half the earth, been proclaimed in America, the British Isles, France, Sweden, Denmark, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, and the Isles of the Pacific, &c. Already the Book of Mormon is translated into English, French, Italian, Danish, German, and Welsh languages.

To conclude, from these few rambling remarks we learn that not only Scripture, but history also manifests the necessity of obedience, and the impotent folly of rebellion; that God by His position of Creator, has the right to govern, us, and make laws; that His wisdom is infinite and His power uncircumscribed; that wherever God has had a Church upon the earth, it was necessary to obey the inspired Priesthood presiding in that Church; that God has ever punished disobedience with judgments, summary and complete. The natural conclusion of all this is, that as God has now a Church on the earth, it is presumption and madness to neglect, danger and peril to rebel! Already we hear of the judgments of God, harbingers of His advancing kingdom, making their presence known and felt. The greatest nations and mightiest empires have fallen, fallen in their presumption and pride. Already we [162] hear in this age also of subverted thrones, extinguished dynasties, crushed altars, prescribed princes, and expatriated nobles; terror has commenced its work. The only hope is in obedience to the commands of God, the only deliverance is in His kingdom. Amen. (Mill. Star 15:613-617)



  1. W. Richards, Mill. Star editor

September 19, 1853

It is a glorious privilege of the Saints of God in all ages, to receive knowledge and intelligence from God, by means of dreams, visions, tongues, &c. The Saints of old received intelligence through these channels. Prophets and righteous men have sought information from the eternal worlds, and in dreams and visions of the night, and by the out-pouring of the Holy Spirit, have had unfolded to them scenes of the past., the present, the future, have had their minds enveloped in the glory and sublimity of eternal realities, and have been cheered, refreshed, strengthened, and prepared for the emergencies of life.

Whether mankind realize the matter or not, still it is true that these gifts and blessings–these channels of instruction, and communication with inhabitants of other worlds, are appointed of God for the benefit of those who wish to be instructed of Him. And although a majority of mankind ridicule such things, still it is on record that in these “last days” in which we live, men are not to be denied or deprived of these blessings, where they are sought for from a fervent desire of learning of the things of God. Joel, speaking of the latter times, plainly declares that “it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions; and also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my Spirit.” And thousands of Saints can testify that that Spirit is poured out, and that dreams and visions, tongues and prophecyings, are now bestowed upon the children of men, opening to their delighted view the glorious work of God in this last dispensation, instructing [163] the mind in principles long lost sight of by the sons of men. This is calculated to cause the soul to rejoice, and to return thanks to the Great I AM, for these fresh manifestations of His mercy to the workmanship of His hands.

By dreams and visions was Joseph shown his own exaltation and the humble attitude in which his father’s house would present themselves before him, though at the time of receiving his dream he was hated by his brethren, and was afterwards sold by them into bondage. Daniel, in night-vision, had unfolded to his view the grand events of the future–the rise and fall of kingdom, and the persecution and final triumph of the Saints of the Most High. By vision was Ezekiel shown the resuscitation of the dry bones, or, in other words, the restoration to the favour of the Lord, and the resurrection, of the whole house of Israel, and also the coming forth of the stick of Ephraim in the last days, and its union with the stick of Judah, and the influence which this union should have in turning the hearts of the children to the knowledge of their ancestors. By dreams was the life of the child Jesus saved from the direful jealousy of Herod. By a vision was Peter shown that Gentiles as well as Jews were entitled to the blessings of the Gospel. By vision was Paul, when sailing for Rome, instructed that himself and fellows would not be swallowed up by the angry waves of the mighty deep, and also by vision was revealed to his understanding the transcendent glories of the third heavens. By vision was this last dispensation opened, and by the same means did the Prophet Joseph gaze upon the untold glories of the celestial, terrestrial, and telestial worlds. But time and space will not permit us to tell of the dreams and visions of Lehi, Nephi, Alma, the brother of Jared, and of the Apostles and Elders of this last dispensation. Many of the visions and dreams of these worthies are noted in records now extant, from which our readers can learn, at their leisure, further particulars.

Should visions, dreams, tongues, &c., be sought after now by the Saints? Certainly Saints should earnestly contend for these things, but it should be done wisely. These gifts of God are invaluable means of instruction. They were intended, and are calculated, to prove blessings of a higher order than men are naturally prone to seek [164] after. But all blessings, great or small, are invariably accompanied with corresponding snares, of which the Saints will do well to take heed.

When blessings are poured out in a remarkable degree upon a people, that people, unless they are very careful, are liable to become puffed up in their hearts, and to lose that spirit of humility and consistency which should characterize the Saints of God. It is quite true that, although the heavens are full of blessings, and the Almighty is ever ready to bestow them upon the persons who ask Him for them, but multitudes of mankind are not prepared to receive them. Were certain blessings to be bestowed upon people who are not prepared to receive them and who cannot appreciate them sufficiently to apply them with judgment and wisdom to the circumstances of life, the minds of such people would speedily be overbalanced, their stability would fail, and they would become unfitted for their ordinary duties. In such cases, the blessings given would not in reality prove blessings, they would prove curses, and, instead of being instrumental in saving the receivers, would prove instrumental in condemning them. Jesus said to his disciples–“Give not that which is holy unto dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.” This parabolic advice illustrates the probability that exists of men’s abusing blessings which they are not able to appreciate, and not only the blessings, but the bestower of the blessings also. Paul acknowledges the danger of a man’s being lifted up in his heart, because of the blessings poured out upon him–“And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.”

Although it is the privilege and right of all the Saints to receive intelligence by dreams, visions, tongues, &c., yet such intelligence should be of that character which will be instructive, and edifying, and peculiarly suitable to the circumstances of the receiver. Though a Saint has a right to receive revelations, by dream or vision, for his own guidance in the performance of duties pertaining particularly to his own sphere, yet no Saint [165] has a right to receive revelations to guide, or control, or dictate, the movements of those who are higher in authority than himself. If this were allowable, there would soon come an end to all order in the Kingdom of God, and the splendid confusion of sectarianism would be manifest, distracting the minds of the honest in heart. Brigham Young has the right to receive intelligence by dream, vision, &c., to instruct him in the important duties of his high calling, and to guide the whole Church of Christ upon the earth. But no other man upon the earth has the right to receive revelations to dictate to Brigham Young, what he shall teach, and how he shall act. The President of a Mission has a right to have dreams and visions to instruct him in the duties of his Mission, but no man under his charge has the right to obtain dreams or visions to dictate to the President of the Mission. The President of a Conference has a right to get dreams or visions to instruct him in his duties, but no man under the President has any right to have dreams or visions to dictate to his President. The President of a Branch has a right to obtain dreams or visions to instruct him in his duties, but no other member of that Branch has a right to dictate to him through receiving a dream, or vision, or the gift of tongues. The father of a family has the right to receive revelations to instruct him in guiding and governing his family, but neither the wife nor any of the children of that man has a right to dictate to him in the guidance and governance of his family. The wife or children have the right to have dreams or visions for their own instruction and benefit. Every man and woman has the right to obtain dreams, visions, tongues, interpretations, and as many of the gifts of the Spirit as he or she can for his or her individual instruction, but no man or woman has a right to receive these things to dictate to those who may be set over him or her in the Lord. Neither should men, filling a responsible Presidency be influenced in discharging their duties, by dreams, tongues, and visions, given through members over whom they preside. The Lord does not step out of the order of His Kingdom, to reveal to a President important duties, through a member, if that President is honouring his calling, any more than He makes water naturally run up hill. When a President has more confidence in [166] communications received through those whom he should instruct, than in his own ability to get them by virtue of his office, he dishonours his calling, and evidently has so far lost the spirit of it, as to distrust the Lord. When this is the case the Lord will soon leave that man to his own strength, that his folly may be made manifest by his tumbling into the ditch himself, perhaps with some he was leading. Intelligence is good, from whatever source it may come, but when a man looks down for light, he must possess strength of vision sufficient to look up, and not allow the rays from below to counteract the influence of those from above, otherwise his light will become darkness.

We would exhort the Saints to cultivate the gifts and manifestations of the Spirit, for every Saint may receive a manifestation or manifestations to “profit withal.” But wisdom should ever be exercised in the use of these gifts, or the Spirit will become grieved, and take its departure, leaving those who possessed it, a prey to the “signs and lying wonders” of him who, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour. The Saints should seek to purify themselves before the Lord, and be prepared to receive the revelations of the intelligence and glories which are to come, so that they may be neither exalted above measure in the day of prosperity through the blessings they receive, nor fail in their hearts in the day of adversity through their weakness, and the unwise use which they may have been tempted to make of the manifestations of the Holy Spirit. The gifts of God are not bestowed upon men for vain boasting, or rebellion, or lording it over God’s heritage, but for the especial profit, instruction, edification, and strengthening and building up in faith, of those who may receive them, that the Priesthood may be thoroughly furnished unto all good works, and that the Saints may be able to overcome, and endure unto the end. The gifts and those who use them should ever be in subjection to the presiding power. (Mill. Star 15:600-602)


[167]                   Concluding Conference Remarks

Brigham Young, October 9, 1853

Reported by Thomas Bullock

General Conference, 2 pm

President Young wished the Latter-day Saints to hearken to this counsel, viz. —

We will now bring our Conference to a close. I wish the Latter-day Saints to hearken to the counsel they receive from time to time, and especially to the counsel I will now give to all the Latter-day Saints in this house, in the valleys of the mountains, and all who are scattered among the nations of the earth. I ask one thing at your hands, and that is, to live your religion day by day.

The religion we profess is the religion of the Lord Jesus Christ; a religion of revelation, ministering of angels, and the power of God on the people, through the ordinances of God. My counsel to all Saints is, TO LIVE THEIR RELIGION. If they do, they will live watchfully, prayerfully, and humbly; and their hearts will be filled with compassion one towards another, and they will seek to do good all the days of their lives; and when an evil is presented to them they will shun that evil, and will cleave to that which is right before the Lord; otherwise they will bring a disgrace upon themselves, and dishonor their religion. This is my counsel to all Saints, and I wish you to carry it from this Conference to your neighbors, and spread it abroad throughout all the Churches of the Saints, upon the face of the whole earth — LIVE THE RELIGION YOU PROFESS.

You may say, “Brother Brigham, will you fellowship men who do wrong?” Well, suppose Brother Brigham does fellowship evil doers for a season, exercising long-suffering and mercy towards them, he does not fellowship their evil actions. God has mercy upon us, and we should have mercy on each other. Let us honor our God, our religion, our profession, and our being on the earth, and we may be proud of our religion, for it is the only thing on earth that is worthy of the pride of the heart of man, it is the only thing we have any knowledge of, that is worthy the attention of intelligence.

[168] I have felt very thankful for this interview we have had; and if we are blessed of the Lord, when our next Conference convenes, we will have a place large enough to accommodate all the people, where all can be seated, and see, and hear. This we will do, if the Lord will.

You may inquire what we are going to do. Simply to occupy a portion of this ground which is being enclosed by the wall, pave it nicely, rear timbers properly prepared, and make a canopy over our heads with our wagon covers, &c., and put in our benches, and then all can sit down comfortably. This will put an end to the little conferences that are held by numerous individuals around this house, who cannot be accommodated with seats. We hold a General Conference here, but outside there are numerous Conferences and caucus meetings. We will endeavor to have a place where we can have our councils and caucus meetings together. I wish to say one word in behalf of brother Cyrus H. Wheelock. While he was telling you his dream, and his feelings on arriving at this place, I wanted to testify in his behalf, and say, he has come home with his heart pure, he is clean and pure; as he saw in his dream, HIS SHEET WAS CLEAN.

I wish all the elders who go abroad would come home in the same manner. Now and then one does. Some few come home with clean shirts, and others return with their garments spotted.

Do you ask if I mean you? If your own conscience condemns you, I shall, and so with the Lord. Those who have white shirts know it for themselves; and those who have got spotted shirts, will come to me and say, “Is my shirt clean?” To every man who comes to me, saying, “Brother Brigham, do you think I have come home clean and pure?” my answer is, YOU HAVE NOT, but your eye has been like the fool’s eye, at the ends of the earth. You have committed some wickedness, your mind has become darkened, and you have been left to yourself until you have done things which are a disgrace to you.

Let men come home with the Holy Ghost on them, with the Spirit of revelation in them, do they want to know of me, or any other person, if they are pure? They know they are pure, as well as the angels know. But it is a [169] sure sign that a man is impure, when he doubts in his own mind. I shall not single out any person but Brother Wheelock. Be sure THAT A MAN WHO DOES NOT KNOW HE IS PURE, IS NOT PURE.

I could tell you a great many foibles the Elders of Israel are guilty of. For instance, suppose a man goes abroad preaching the Gospel, and tries to fill his mission as well as he can, but as quick as he is out of the meetings of the Saints, or has done bearing testimony of the truth to the world, and is alone, his mind is in the Valley, and with a heavy sigh he exclaims, “I wish I was at home with my dear wife and children.” The Lord would not give a straw for such a man; his whole soul should be engaged in the work at which he is laboring while in the vineyard.

Let no man ever go out into the world to labor as a minister of Christ, and leave his spirit at home. When the power of God is on a man, he mows the earth as he goes, and gathers his sheaves continually, gathering around him kindred spirits. He cannot speak or pray without gathering spirits of his own kind.

When I find my kindred spirit, a man or woman, who possesses the Spirit of the Lord, I am acquainted with that person, and feel as though we had been acquainted a long time ago. These are the men who will do good, and will never lack friends, for they will find them here and there already made, and they will prove friends indeed. My mission is to go and make more friends besides the ones I have at home, and gather up the wheat from among the tares, and search out Israel wherever they are.

I wish to say a word now with regard to Israel and the Gentiles, treated upon in an able and eloquent discourse by Elder P. P. Pratt, touching the privilege of the Gentiles numbering with Israel. Nine tenths of those who come into this Church are the pure blood of Israel, the greater portion being purely of the blood of Ephraim. Joseph was a savior to the house of his father, and will be to whole house of Israel in the last days. We are Israel, we are already a portion of that venerable house. Those who are Gentiles in our midst, have numbered themselves with Israel through the ordinances of the Gospel, and all the Gentiles who will come in the future can be adopted, and [170] become Israel, for Israel has been scattered among the people, and, nationally speaking, all are Gentiles.

You will never see a man called to preside in the Priesthood of God on the earth who is not purely of the blood of Abraham. You may set every man down to be a pure descendant of Abraham, who holds a position in this Kingdom, and holds the keys of, and officiates in, the ordinances of the Holy Priesthood. Either God has not called him, or he is a pure offspring of faithful Abraham. When strangers and aliens are talked of, we talk of Gentiles.

I can see no necessity for going through any particular form or ceremony in drawing this Conference to a close, and I will say, the Conference is now adjourned to the 6th of April, 1854, at 10 A. M., to meet on this block, if the Lord will.

Benediction by President Young.

(Mill. Star 16:51-52: DNW 3:75)


A Synopsis of Brigham Young’s

Address to the Missionaries

Deseret News, October 9, 1853

I have a few remarks to make to the missionaries, I consider all the elders of this Church, missionaries, and I will here say that every man who is clothed with the Priesthood can magnify it while cultivating the earth, or following any other useful occupation, as well as in preaching the gospel to the nations; for while an elder is diligent, and by his labor produces man, and beast, he is administering life and salvation. An elder magnifies his calling, has a right to bless his land, his fields, his crops, his flocks and herds, his wives and children; he has a right to heal the sick, and cast evil spirits out of man or beast. If any of his family or animals are sick, he has a right to lay hands upon them, and heal them, and to do all things which are right and lawful, but a man without the Priesthood has not the legal right to do these things.

Now how is it with you, ye elders of Israel? Do you magnify your calling in all these things, or do you take the name of God in vain, and curse, lie, and steal a little? And when the devil gets into your animals, do you partake [171] of the same spirit, and go to fighting them, or do you cast the devil out of them? I leave you to judge.

When you first received the gospel, and the light of eternal truth beamed upon your understandings, would you then have cursed, swore, stolen, lied, or done any evil? No, these acts would have caused you to shudder, but when your light begins to fade, and walk a long time in the twilight, you begin to stumble a little, and after a time you can commit much evil, and sleep easily over it. It is time for such to cry unto God to have mercy upon them.

Were you going on a mission to the opposite portions of the globe, and about to leave all, with no one to lean upon but God, you would seek unto Him all the time, and when your missions are given to you near home, if you cease to trust in God, and to call upon His name with the same diligence as you would in a foreign mission, you will do but little, if any good, and your missions will be in vain; and I warn you, that if you do not fulfill this mission with an eye single to the glory of God, and with a view to save Israel and the souls of men, that if your minds are upon your farms, houses, lands, and families, you will find your garments soiled; they will not be spotless. If you do not feel disposed to devote your time and attention to your missions, you had better say, “brethren, please excuse me,” for you had better stay at home, unless your whole soul is in the work.

I wish to say a few words concerning the gathering of Israel, for my mind reaches forward, when I contemplate the promises of God unto them, and the nations of the earth will accomplish the will of the Lord without observing His hand in their operations. I will ask, who in Nauvoo would have left that city, provided they could have stayed there? No one; but we were driven to this place to fulfill the will of God. Joseph tried to get access to the remnants of Jacob, and the people greatly feared, lest we should preach the gospel to them. Could we have preached to the Lamanites, if we had stayed in Nauvoo? No, we could not, but the people have driven us to a place where we can do much more good, than we could have accomplished by remaining in Nauvoo; they have driven us into the midst of the Lamanites, where we can preach the gospel unto them.

[172] It has been remarked that I have said there would be a railroad built from the States to this Territory by the year 1861; now all the union are in favor of a Pacific railroad, and when it is built our brethren from abroad can come here without walking, as many are now compelled to do.

I wish the elders to be faithful upon this mission, and much good will be accomplished, and if any elder is not faithful in the mission assigned to him, let him be chastised, and if he does not repent let him be cut off from this Church.

The elders have esteemed it a great privilege to be sent to foreign nations to preach the gospel, and have, in a message, seemed to forget the poor, ignorant Lamanites who surround us, and are in our midst, at our own doors. They are a remnant of the House of Israel, they are of the seed of Abraham, and the Book of Mormon, and all the prophecies concerning that people declare that the gospel shall be preached unto them, and we have it to do, and it is time for us to begin. This work is upon you; you are sent unto the Lamanites, and to accomplish this mission, you cannot live in your fine houses as you now do, but you must live with them, teach them, and counsel them in all things, and be on hand to do them all the good that lies in your power. If you cannot bring your feelings to a willingness to do this, and cheerfully leave all for the purpose of saving this branch of the House of Israel, you had better say, “let me be excused, and stay at home.”

Your first business will be to civilize them, teach them to work, and improve their condition by your utmost faith and diligence. Every elder, who is now called unto this work, should immediately commence to learn the Lamanite languages. Go to Bro. D.B. Huntington and take lessons, and I hope soon to see a hundred good interpreters where we now have but one.

When you go among the Lamanites deal with them honestly and righteously in all things. Any man who cheats a Lamanite should be dealt with more severely than for cheating a white man. An Indian thinks it no sin to steal, or to kill his enemy, because he has been taught from his childhood that there is no harm in it, but on the contrary, that it is a brave act. Not so with the white man, [173] he has been taught from his infancy that it is wicked either to steal, or kill, except in self-defense. Walker will not kill a white man, nor go on a stealing expedition to California until he offers sacrifice to his God, then he thinks he is doing right, and the reason he has not done more of his war on the southern settlements is because he could get no answer from his God. Had it not been for this, and the faith of this people, he would have destroyed those settlements before this time. I am sorry that some of our brethren have been killed by the Indians, but am far more sorry that some of the Indians have been slain by the brethren. I have often said, and I say again, if any person is to be killed for stealing, let that one be a white man, and not an Indian, for white men know better, while Indians do not, and you must lay aside your angry feelings toward them, and cease wishing to kill them.

Now go to work, you elders of Israel, fulfill your callings, magnify your office, get the Spirit of the Lord and of your mission, begin to save the Lamanites, and not destroy them, for they are of the House of Israel, and the blessings of God will rest upon you, and I bless you in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen. (Des. News, Oct. 9, 1853)


Foreign Missions

  1. W. Richards, Mill. Star Editor

November 12, 1853

The past year has been fraught with many important events, connected with the spread of the Gospel among the nations of the earth. The laudable exertions, in various countries, of the many Elders, will be looked upon by them with lasting pleasure, and will serve to heighten their joys, and hopes of an eternal reward. But a few short years have rolled away since the Prophet Joseph heard the heavenly angel commanding him to see that the Gospel of the Son of God, as declared to him, was carried to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people, that the end might come. He commenced the work this wonderful message dictated to him, with all the zeal and energy of youth, fired by the inspiration of heaven. We can now gaze upon the scene which the wide world presents, and behold “Mormonism” and its advocates marching, with an [174] unwearied tread, upon almost every land, while even the world around, proclaiming the power of truth which has once more descended from above. Such has been the success of the Elders of Israel, who have gone forth to open up foreign missions, declaring Joseph and Brigham to be God’s Prophets unto man, that a wondering, astonished world are compelled to admit that the influence and power which sustain them are more than earthly; that the sword, the bayonet, the blazing torch, and the excited prejudice of the multitude, have all been used in vain to arrest the alarming progress of a work which those men have power to control. This fact has not become so apparent, that the many thousands of Saints, scattered almost the world over, are filled with that unshaken confidence in each other and their God, which only heaven-born truth can plant in the hearts of men. With which inconceivable delight those heavenly messengers must be filled, to whom were committed the guardianship and keys of this last dispensation, as they witness the blessing of Omnipotence upon that work which is destined to become a kingdom, and fill the whole earth; while even the earth itself conspires with heaven to bless her sons who only seek the happiness of men, and the glory of their God.

We have observed, with no small degree of interest, the course and policy of those who have been engaged the past year in opening up new missions, the signal success which has attended some fields of labor, and the resistance offered to Elders in condition of the governments of the earth presents many important considerations to those Elders who are endeavoring to spread Gospel truths among them. Those considerations are so varied that no general rule could be applicable to all countries, for introducing a message so revolutionizing as the Gospel message! But from our own trifling experience and close observation we shall venture to offer a few suggestions upon that course which appears to us most universally adapted to the accomplishment of the desired object.

“Mormonism” is exceedingly unpopular among almost all classes of people, where it has not been correctly represented; and “Mormon” Elders, in a strange community, are but little less so. Under these circumstances, where free toleration does not exist, almost all [175] applications to the authorities, for liberty to publicly disseminate the Truth, have been denied the Elders. Scarcely anything better could be expected under the circumstances. Most governments in the old world are becoming more and more sensible of their weakness. The utmost vigilance of officials is barely sufficient to suppress the spirit of insurrection that is so universally diffused among the people. This spirit is daily threatening the peace of many nations, and only seeking an unguarded moment, to make one universal wreck of thrones and powers now tottering upon the very verge of ruin. Rulers, in very many instances, well know that the hearts of their subjects are alienated from them, and are only subject to them through fear, and under these circumstances every thing that is calculated to excite or agitate the public mind, must be avoided. This is the rulers’ only policy to lengthen out a few short days their political existence, which is their sole ambition. The petty tyrannical power that has been so successful as to fasten its galling yoke upon the necks of enough to support it, is by no means inclined to suffer its honors and titles to be extinguished, while it has no other prospect but to wear the yoke itself. The people therefore must be forced into subjection, and no one must be allowed to have influence among them, unless that influence tends directly to strengthen the political administration, and fasten it stronger upon the people. This is the policy of most governments.

An Elder, therefore, bearing the Holy Priesthood, and wishing access to the people, is at once denied. He advocates the right of Messiah to reign over the children of men. His errand is to publish the liberty of the Gospel, which makes men free indeed. His message may not be known by those who thrust him out, and deprive him from having access to the people, thousands of whom would hail his message with delight, as the dawn of salvation to them; but the spirit which is in them is sensible when it comes under the influence of the Holy Priesthood, and consequently resists it. Having almost unlimited control over mankind, it operates instinctively through them to resist the good, saying to him who administers the Law of Righteousness, “We will not have thee to rule over us.” Such is the spirit which has been [176] universally manifested towards the Elders when they have applied to authority, for permission to come publicly before the people.

This policy, to get before the people, having been generally unsuccessful, the question arises–what other policy can be adopted? The old adage may serve to answer the question–“If you cannot do as well as you would, do as well as you can.” If an Elder is sensible that he cannot obtain public privileges, he may perhaps effectually accomplish his object through a patient use of his private advantages, and in many continental countries this appears to be the only hope of introducing the true Gospel plan to the people. To depend upon making personal acquaintances, when going into the midst of strangers, requires more time and patience, but is often the most sure way of obtaining those public favors which are so desirable.

There are but few places where an individual with proper credentials is not allowed to visit as long as he pleases, mingle with the people, and make as many acquaintances, both in high and low circles, as is agreeable to him, so long as he does not excite the public feeling, or take a stand which directly attracts the attention of the authorities. When these common advantages are improved, and friends obtained in respectable society, an Elder’s power and advantages are increased in proportion, and he may soon be able, assisted by the influence of his friends, to urge his suit for public advantages, with success. When an Elder has obtained friends, he has laid the foundation to his future labors for the happiness of men, and the honor of his God. The hearts of men must be secured, before the Gospel, which is the power of God, can be imparted to them. The ears of the people constitute the highway to their hearts, and there are but few places where they cannot be reached in a private capacity, while the public ear is as strictly guarded by authority, as the Tree of Life was in the garden by the flaming sword.

During our late visit to the continent, our own personal observations fully confirmed our previous views, formed by carefully observing the policy which has been pursued in opening up many new missions the past year, [177] which views were, that in many countries the liberty of public preaching could not reasonably be expected until the road had been paved to it by private exertions, even where the letter of the law guaranteed such liberty. To urge a demand even for the liberties of the law, has often proved extremely prejudicial to all future operations of such Elders. In some cases Elders are now laboring under great difficulties, and are barely able to maintain their position, because of first introducing themselves to the notice of the authorities, who not only denied them their requests, but most jealously watched them ever after, while the law guarantees to them every liberty they could wish. These Elders might perhaps be succeeded by others, who could enjoy much greater liberties, simply by avoiding notoriety. When a denial is met with from authority, all that is accomplished must then be by private exertions. The fact of an Elder’s having received that denial, prejudices the minds of the people, and excites the vigilance of the police; difficulties arise almost insurmountable, exertions prove futile, and perhaps the field is entirely abandoned.

Some of the most successful missions have been established where private introductions have been obtained from one grade of society to another, affording the Elders a favorable opportunity of establishing an unquestionable character for purity of motive, and peaceful intentions, until they have applied for a public position in society and obtained it by almost universal approbation of the authorities. This position once gained is certainly an enviable one, and affords great advantages for doing good. It is a lawful right, a universal privilege of the Elders, to gain the confidence of all good and honest persons as fast as they can get access to them. None are more worthy of that confidence that those who bear the Holy Priesthood, and seek to administer life to the people. It is for this purpose that God has conferred authority upon them, that they may have power over the hearts of the children of men, to lead them in the way of righteousness, and bring them home to God. An Elder naturally feels that it is his right to gain friends wherever he goes, that he is sent forth into the world for that purpose, and as fast as they are gained, to use them for the [178] extending of God’s glorious work. Herein he gets honor to himself, and glory to his God.

It has afforded us unspeakable pleasure to hear, so frequently, such favorable tidings of the work abroad, and we have watched with prayerful anxiety, the interests of foreign missions, as well as that more immediately under our care. The work of the Lord is as dear to us in India, the Continental countries, and the distant Islands, as in Great Britain; and our suggestions and counsel, which have been given to the Elders abroad from time to time, either in public or private communications, were only to be used where they might be deemed appropriate and beneficial. It is for the same object these suggestions are given, to be used where they may prove advantageous, without dictating to those whose circumstances we cannot fully appreciate. Most of the Elders now laboring in foreign missions are of our personal acquaintance, and we would assure them of our most sincere favor and regard, which we do not express by private letter as often as we could wish, because of our multiplied and incessant labors. (Mill. Star 15:744-747)


The Perpetual Emigrating Fund

  1. W. Richards, Mill. Star Editor

November 19, 1853

The Perpetual Emigrating Fund was founded by the Holy Priesthood in Zion, through the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, for the gathering of the Lord’s poor from all nations to the home of the Saints. The signal success which has characterized the Fund’s operations so far, shows that it is destined to become one of the grandest instruments which the Lord will employ for the redemption of Israel from the curse of scattering, which has, for thousands of years, prevented their union and progress as one nation in the land. We cannot but entertain the most sanguine anticipations of the operations of this Fund in ameliorating the condition of many honest souls now groaning in Babylonish exile, and also in building up Zion. We are well aware that the interests of this Fund are fostered with warm anxiety, and lively [179] concern, by the authorities in Zion. And we know that the Saints generally look upon the Fund as the “hope set before them” Many an anxious eye, that has strained itself to weariness in trying to catch a glimpse of that “good time coming,” when the fetters of Babylon would be broken, and the way to Zion be opened, is still tearfully and supplicatingly directed to this Fund as the only probable means of accomplishing the desired salvation. Many a Saint, poor, afflicted, and distressed, will yet turn to the Emigrating Fund as to the guiding star to a better land; as to the day-spring of hope, fore running brighter times; as to the chariot of salvation, sweeping the earth to hail the abodes of oppression and wretchedness, and to bear the poor and meek of the earth to Zion, to participate in the blessings of the Lord’s house, and to inherit the fat of the land.

Here is a subject worthy of the purest and most philanthropic sympathies of the soul, and upon which the most princely generosity may safely expend itself. The deliverance of the excellent of the earth from sectarian strife and confusion, and grinding poverty, to a land where truth, light, intelligence, and competence are within reach of the earnest and diligent, is surely a subject worthy of more consideration than a passing thought. Eternity alone will tell the magnitude and importance of such a subject.

Then what ought to be the actions of the Saints in supporting this Fund, and thereby enabling it to operate with accelerated power in gathering the poor? Ought the Saints to stand still, and not put forth a helping hand to aid this Fund, around which so many anxious desires and hopes are gathering? No. The Saints know full well that it is their privilege and duty to lay to with their might, and throw in their farthings, their pence, their shillings, their pounds, to nerve with financial strength this great instrument of the gathering. And we are glad to find that the Saints, generally, are not slack to put their shoulders to the wheel, and help roll on the purposes of Jehovah. “God helps them that help themselves.” And if the Saints set to with all diligence, and strengthen the fund by all possible means, many years will not elapse before not only the Gentiles, but also the Saints, will look with [180] wonder and astonishment, on what the Lord will have wrought–

“Till every Saint’s relieved, and sinner stunned,

Will shout–Look here! at this Perpetual Fund!”

But, although the Saints have done well, generally, we apprehend that much more might be done. The bulk of the donations which have been heretofore made to the Fund, have been the scrapings, and small, hard savings of the poor, and the very-well-spread silver or gold of the rich. But there is a class of Saints who probably do a little, but might do a great deal, to the Fund, if not with immediate advantage, yet with little or no disadvantage, to themselves, and with immense advantage to the church as a whole.

There are many Saints who cannot, for a number of years, raise sufficient money to enable them and their families to go to Zion, but can save one, two, three, four, five, or more pounds per year, merely by frugal living, and without suffering any special privation. Suppose a Saint has six souls in his family, and by their united exertions they can only save six pounds per year, twelve years or more would be required to emigrate the family. Now twelve years is a long time to wait. The money as it accumulates is resting in the family bureau, or, at most, put out to usury among the Gentiles, to say nothing of the contingencies of the twelve years, and the probable drawbacks which circumstances might make upon the family. Now supposing this family contributed their six pounds annually to the Fund–at the end of two years, one person might be emigrated; at the end of four years, two more of the family might be emigrated–one by the refunded money, the other by the exertions of the remaining portion of the family here. Now half the family are emigrated to where their advantages for earning money can reasonably be supposed to have increased, so that at the end of six years the three remaining members of the family can be conveniently emigrated, and while they are performing the journey, those in Zion could have [181] a comfortable home in Zion, simply by availing themselves of the advantages offered by the Perpetual Emigrating Fund. While, otherwise, the whole family might have been lingering out a miserable existence in the midst of wickedness of Babylon, for the space of twelve years. During this twelve years, that family might not be able to survive the desolating scourges, the pestilence, the famines, the wars, and civil commotions, which are to be witnessed as the judgments of God upon a rebellious world; and to leave their remains behind, without having received those ordinances and blessings necessary to an eternal exaltation, would be a source of lasting grief. The advantages of gathering home to Zion the earliest possible moment, both in a temporal and spiritual point of view, must be obvious to the reflecting mind of every faithful Saint. The necessity of doing it is so great, that neglect would incur the displeasure of God.

In considering this subject we cannot look upon it as being a matter of individual or family interest alone, but as involving the present and future happiness of all Saints. We will therefore suppose all the Saints in the British Isles to be but one family. No member of that family should cherish individual interests at the sacrifice of the general good. The interests, happiness, and prosperity of every faithful Saint, are supposed to be equally sacred in the sight of God, whose children we all are. If God attaches the same importance to the interests of all those who are equally faithful, then each member of the great family should regard another’s happiness as his own, and ever consult the general welfare. In this we can see the utmost propriety of the Apostle’s saying, “Let no man seek his own, but every man another’s wealth.”

Now let us make a more extensive calculation, considering as one family all the Saints in the British Isles, who wish to emigrate, and number them, independent of those who are rich and able to help themselves, at 30,000 souls. We will adopt a moderate calculation, and suppose that,. by their industry and frugality, and the liberality of the rich, they are enabled to average only one pound each per annum, here we have as the result of the first yearÕs effort the snug little sum of L30,000. This amount is supposed to emigrate, by the first year’s [182] operation, one twelfth of the great family, which would be 2500 souls.

A mighty effort must be made before the work is accomplished, and no time could be more suitable to make it than the present. Let the Pastors, Presidents, and traveling Elders make a few mathematical calculations upon the subject themselves, and see if they cannot gain texts and inspiration from them, so that something practical can be the result–something that will cause the heart of our Father in heaven to rejoice over His children upon the earth, and Satan to rage for the loss of his wide-spread dominion.

Come then, brethren and sisters, fellow workers with us in this Last Dispensation, let us sustain the Perpetual Emigrating fund with all our surplus money, with our faith, with all the energies of our souls, and, though your poverty and oppression may be great, you shall be delivered therefrom, and made free indeed; though you are now mourning exiles in the midst of Babylon, you shall ere long rejoice in the abundance of peace, in truth, on the land which God your Father shall give unto you for an everlasting possession. (Mill. Star 15:753-756)


Indian Difficulties

  1. W. Richards, Mill. Star Editor

November 19, 1853

In our last, we furnished our readers with the latest news received relative to the Indian troubles in Utah. We learn, however, that discontent among the red men is not confined to that territory, but that it is becoming universal among those western districts. Washington territory, various portions of California and New Mexico, present scenes of commotion among the savage tribes and their civilized neighbors. This state of things in the West, and the fearful gloom of war in the East, are only ominous of the inauspicious future, which is admitted, by almost all believers of sacred prophecy, to be at our very doors, and known to be by Saints who are acquainted with Jehovah’s purposes. It is impossible to look upon the prophetic future with other than the most serious concern. The Lord declared through His Prophet Joseph, that peace [183] should be taken from the earth; that war should be poured out upon all nations; that the remnants who are left of the land of America should marshal themselves, and becoming exceedingly angry, should vex the Gentiles with a sore vexation; that these things should burst forth to make an end of wickedness upon the earth.

It is in view of these things that the cry has been heard, both long and loud, for the Saints to gather, that the wisdom of God through His servants might be exercised for their defense.

The Prophet Isaiah also gazed upon this critical period of the world, and he saw no deliverance until he beheld the work in which the Saints are now engaged–“Until the Spirit be poured upon us from on high, and the wilderness be a fruitful field, and the fruitful field be counted for a forest. Then judgment shall dwell in the wilderness, and righteousness remain in the fruitful field. And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance forever. And my people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting places.” It is to realize and fully enjoy what the Prophet has here spoken, that the Saints gather, and convert the wilderness into a fruitful field; it is because righteousness shall remain there, and there shall be peace and assurance for ever.

Jeremiah saw the day when Judah should flee to the “defensed cities” for refuge, but Ephraim is honored of God to take the lead of the latter-day work, and his cities are being defensed with walls for a cover. The promptitude and energy evinced in the movements of President Young and seconded by the people, in preparing for the temporal salvation of the Saints, indicate the importance to the approaching day. The Saints have nothing to fear so long as they unitedly co-operate with those to whom God has given the keys of prophetic vision and power. He has said it was His business to provide for His Saints, and when they require it, the scourge is as easily provided as the blessing. Both are necessary to purify the people.

Even now let Ephraim, while he may, go forth and build, and dwell in defensed cities; let the Saints arise and go forth to increase the strength of the Lord’s house, and let not the manifest fulfillment of His purposes, cause any [184] one to turn either to the right or to the left, for all which is spoken of by the mouths of the Prophets must be fulfilled. Jacob is the Lord’s battle-ax and weapon of war, and by him He will break in pieces the nations, and destroy kingdoms; and if we have evidence that the work is already commenced, let Saints redouble their diligence, and flee for the wrath to come, before the enemy is found in the way.

The sound of the hammer is again heard upon the walls of a Temple. Nothing seems to excite so effectually the rage of man’s spiritual enemy. Past experience proves that he is determined to avail himself of such an event to stir up the hearts of the children of men to shed blood. The present indicates that his power is not yet taken from him–that the devil is not yet dead. To avoid his contentions and destroying influence, which he will pour out upon the wicked without measure, let Saints cleave to the law of the Lord, and work righteousness, and they shall be delivered; fear shall only seize upon the hypocrite. Those who never do wrong, never yield themselves to a tyrant, their peace is undisturbed, the world neither gives it nor takes it away. Whatever may be the scenes through which the Saints pass, they glory in beholding the hand of their deliverer and their God in all things.

We rejoice when we contemplate the condition of the Saints in Zion, and behold the wisdom manifested in every movement of those mighty men, who alone on earth are able to dictate salvation to the people, for the eventful future. Notwithstanding those difficulties which are present seem to exist in Utah, we are assured that all is well, and that God will liberally provide for every emergency of His people, while every succeeding year will prove more and more eventful, to the establishing of His kingdom upon the earth. (Mill. Star 15:760-761)


Adam, Our Father and God

Brigham Young

(from the Journal of Discourses)

Mill. Star, November 26, 1853

My next sermon will be to both Saint and sinner. No thing has remained a mystery in this kingdom up to [185] this day. It is in regard to the character of the well beloved Son of God; upon which subject the Elders of Israel have conflicting views. Our God and Father in heaven, is a being of tabernacle, or in other words, He has a body, with parts the same as you and I have; and is capable of showing forth His works to organized beings, as, for instance, in the world in which we live, it is the result of the knowledge and infinite wisdom that dwell in His organized body. His son, Jesus Christ has become a personage of tabernacle, and has a body like his father. The Holy Ghost is the Spirit of the Lord, and issues forth from Himself, and may properly be called God’s minister to execute His will in immensity; being called to govern by His influence and power; but He is not a person of tabernacle as we are, and as our Father in Heaven and Jesus Christ are. The question has been, and is often, asked, who it was that begat the Son of the virgin Mary. The infidel world have concluded that if what the Apostles wrote about his father and mother be true, and the present marriage discipline acknowledged by Christendom be correct, then Christians must believe that God is the father of an illegitimate son, in the person of Jesus Christ! The infidel fraternity teach that, to their disciples. I will tell you how it is. Our Father in Heaven begat all the spirits that ever were or ever will be upon this earth; and they were born spirits in the eternal world. Then the Lord by His power and wisdom organized the mortal tabernacle of man. We were made first spiritual and afterwards temporal.

Now hear it, O inhabitants of the earth, Jew and Gentile, Saint and sinner! When our father Adam came into the garden of Eden, he came into it with a celestial body, and brought Eve, one of his wives with him. He helped to make and organize this world. He is MICHAEL, the Archangel, the ANCIENT OF DAYS! about whom holy men have written and spoken–HE is our FATHER and our GOD, and the only God with whom WE have to do. Every man upon the earth, professing Christians or non-professing, must hear it, and will know it sooner or later. They came here, organized the raw material, and arranged in their order the herbs of the field, the trees, the apple, the peach, the plum, the pear, and every other fruit that is [186] desirable and good for man; the seed was brought from another sphere, and planted in this earth. The thistle, the thorn, the brier, and the obnoxious weed did not appear until after the earth was cursed. When Adam and Eve had eaten of the forbidden fruit, their bodies became mortal from its effects, and therefore their offspring were mortal. When the virgin Mary conceived the child Jesus, the Father had begotten him in his own likeness. He was not begotten by the Holy Ghost. And who is the Father? He is the first of the human family; and when he took a tabernacle, it was begotten by his Father in heaven, after the same manner as the tabernacles of Cain, Abel, and the rest of the sons and daughters of Adam and Eve; from the fruits of the earth, the first earthly tabernacles were originated by the Father, and so on in succession. I could tell you much more about this; but were I to tell you the whole truth, blasphemy would be nothing to it, in the estimation of he superstitious and over-righteous of mankind. However, I have told you the truth as far as I have gone. I have heard men preach upon the divinity of Christ, and exhaust all the wisdom they possessed. All Scripturalists, and approved theologians who were considered exemplary for piety and education, have undertaken to expound on this subject, in every age of the Christian era; and after they have done all, they are obliged to conclude by exclaiming “great is the mystery of godliness,” and tell nothing.

It is true that the earth was organized by three distinct characters, namely Eloheim, Yahovah, and Michael, these three forming a quorum, as in all heavenly bodies, and in organizing element, perfectly represented in the Deity, as Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

Again, they will try to tell how the divinity of Jesus is joined to his humanity and exhaust all their mental faculties, and wind up with this profound language, as describing the soul of man, “It is an immaterial substance!” What a learned idea! Jesus, our elder brother, was begotten in the flesh by the same character that was in the garden of Eden, and who is our Father in Heaven. Now, let all who may hear these doctrines, pause before they make light of them, or treat them with indifference, for they will prove their salvation or damnation.

[187] I have given you a few leading items upon this subject, but a great deal more remains to be told. Now remember from this time forth, and for ever, that Jesus Christ was not begotten by the Holy Ghost. I was in conversation with a certain learned professor upon this subject, when I replied to this idea, “if the Son was begotten by the Holy Ghost, it would be very dangerous to baptize and confirm females, and give the Holy Ghost to them, lest he should beget children, to be palmed upon the Elders by the people bringing the Elders into great difficulties.”

Treasure up these things in your hearts. In the Bible, you have read the things I have told you to night; but you have not known what you did read. I have told you no more than you are conversant with; but what do the people in Christendom, with the Bible in their hands, know about this subject? Comparatively nothing. (Mill. Star 15:769-770)


Our Father Adam

The extract from the Journal of Discourses may startle some of our readers, but we would wish them to recollect that in this last dispensation God will send forth, by His servants, things new as well as old, until man is perfected in the truth. And we would here take occasion to remark, that it would be well if all our readers would secure a copy of the Journal of Discourses as it is issued, and also of every standard work of the Church; and not only secure these works, but attentively read them, and thoroughly study the principles they contain. Those of the Saints who fail to obtain the standard publications of the Church, will not be likely to prove very intelligent Saints, and will be very liable to wake up some day and find themselves wonderfully behind the times, and consequently will not be able to stand the day of trial, which will come upon all the world. Without the intelligence that comes through the Holy Priesthood, the Saints cannot gain salvation, and this intelligence is given in the various publications of the Church. Who then will endanger his salvation by being behind the times? Not the wise, certainly. (editorial, Mill. Star 15:780)


[188]               The Morality of the Latter-Day Saints

Contrasted with the Immorality of Their Accusers

Elder Joseph Hall

December 3, 1853

Long and loud, and in tones of thunder, has been the voice which has rung in the ears of the public, and terrible have been the charges of immorality against the Latter-day Saint. There is not a crime scarcely in the long “black list” of which we, as a people, are not guilty, if our accusers tell the truth. Newspapers have been crowded, pamphlets have been filled–nay, volumes have been written and multiplied, until the publisher’s shelves have groaned beneath their lying burdens. So fearful, too, have some writers of these falsehood been, of their copyright being borrowed or stolen that they have secured it by an entry at “Stationer’s Hall.”

Not only has the Press labored long, hard, and incessantly, but the Pulpit also has been indefatigably employed in the same ignoble cause. The reputed “man of holiness” has exhausted himself, in his attempts to horrify his attentive, listening audience, with accounts of the crimes of the “Mormons.” He has indulged in the most bitter, acrimonious feelings in his animadversions on the Latter-day Saints. If the parson tells the truth, we are the most degraded, wicked and licentious people that exist upon the face of the earth. And, according to his pious notions, we ought not to be allowed to live in moral and virtuous society!

But is his reverence well informed upon the subject on which he treats? Is he well, and personally, acquainted with the history of the people he denounces? Have all, or any of the crimes he charges upon us, come under his own observation? Has he sought carefully, and even prayerfully, to make himself acquainted with our true history? Alas, no! But he is lamentably ignorant of the true character of the people he so foully and wickedly falsifies!

The press, the pulpit, and the platform, have done their utmost to destroy an innocent people. They have exerted all their influence, but in vain, to prevent the spread of truth. If they have succeeded for a time in throwing a veil over it, that time has been but very brief. [189] Like the sunshine after a storm, the truth has burst forth with additional luster, power, and brilliancy. So it will continue to do. No matter what the malice, the hatred, or the envy of the priest may attempt, the true character of the people he seeks to traduce will appear, and will be seen, and read, and duly appreciated by all honest men.

With our accusers, I have a word–with loud boasting Christendom! And when they have read in a few words their own character, and have been judged to of their own mouths, I should think they would set a seal upon their lips, and never say a word against the Latter-day Saints again.

I shall here say but little of the multitudes of murders, accounts of which inundate the newspapers of the present day, and which now excite but little attention, because they are so common.

Our daily records, too, teem with accounts of seductions, rapes, adultery, beastiality, and other kindred crimes. But says one, these crimes cannot be charged upon Christianity. They are committed by the lawless, the wicked, the profane, and the vulgar. But let it be remembered that the man of prayer, with black coat, and white neckcloth, does not soar so high above these corruptions as to be clean from them. Hence we see in the police reports–“A clerical beast;” “Seductions by a clergyman, and attempts to procure abortion;” “clergyman charged with exposing his person,” &c. &c.

Prostitution pours its black torrents down every street in our towns and cities to such an extent, that modesty is chased before it like the dew before the morning sun! And this crying sin has filled the coffers of many a now rich landlord! Hear a toast given by one of these gentlemen, at a public dinner in London, “The Publican’s best friends–the prostitutes of London!” Virtuous (?) landlord! Is it not rich? Does it need any comment, or does it not speak for itself?

“Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.” Then this man must have a foul, wicked, filthy heart!

The savage, ferocious, brutal conduct of men towards their wives, whom they have sworn to love, cherish, and protect, is not peculiar to the law and vulgar. The more [190] refined, intelligent, and the educated, have partaken of the same spirit. We also see the perfidy of wives towards their husbands, the evil examples parents set before their children, the disobedience of children to their parents, parents pouring the most horrid invectives and curses upon their children, and children rising up, and instead of blessing, cursing their parent’s gray hairs; no kindred tie to bind or seal “the heart of the fathers to their children, and the heart of the children to their fathers;” each member of the family filled with hatred, envy, and malice towards each other; seeking not each other’s happiness, but injury. And all this, too, in the heart of Christendom!

I will now make a few annotations from printed documents. Dr. F. Winslow made the following startling disclosures at a public meeting in London–“In London alone, out of a population of 2,350,000 there are–


Children trained to crime                                            16,000

Receivers of stolen good                                                            5,000

Gamblers by profession                                                          15,000

Beggars                                                                                               25,000

Thieves                                                                                                50,000

Drunkards                                                                                          30,000

Habitual gin-drinkers                                          180,000

Persons subsisting by profligacy                                150,000


Total                                                                                      471,000

Thus in the emporium of the Christian world, we have the above sum of four hundred and seventy-one thousand souls steeped in crimes, many of them sins of the most heinous and damning nature. And this is considered a very moderate estimate. Now, gentle reader, here is a picture for you to contemplate, in spite of the thousands of religious houses and teachers, with their archbishops, bishops, clergy, and school masters. You would search a long time before you would find a corresponding amount of crime, and number of criminals in Salt Lake City, amongst the “immoral Mormons.” I do not stop now to say anything about the other large towns and cities in pious England. I will continue to quote. Hear [191] first a lamentation of the conductors of public schools, after many years experience–“Our beloved schools are retrograding; 2,033 persons are directly engaged as teachers; but juvenile depravity is more than a rival for that number. The system has failed to retain the affections of the elder scholars. Their services are lost to the school. Too often they are heard of no more. At present the condition of most of the schools resembles that of a body diseased. Out of 9,960 in various county prisons, in this country, 6,261 have been trained in Sabbath schools. The number of boys admitted into the New Bailey House of Corrections, from 1842 to 1849, were one thousand and fifty–of this number nine hundred and seventy-seven attended Sunday schools, and seven hundred and fourteen attended day and night schools. One master of a large school in London complains that out of one hundred scholars ninety-one had become drunkards. Another complains, that out of seventy-four scholars forty had become drunkards. Another says, of sixty pupils thirty are drunkards. One writer states, that on visiting a “Singing Saloon,” he saw a number of youths, male and female, seated at a table, some with their long pipe, others with their “glass” or “jug;” and no less than fourteen of these were members of the “Bible Class!” “These sinks of iniquity,” says he, “are thronged with Sunday scholars.” There they sat listening to the most obscene, disgusting, ribald songs and speeches! A number of other members of the “Bible Class,” who had attended school twice, and divine service at chapel in the evening, were seen romping through the streets at night partially intoxicated, (having called at a public-house on their way home,) and singing, “There is a happy Land!” and others chiming in, “Holy children will be there!” &c. What lasting, savory influence did the instructions they had that day received make upon their minds! None at all. One of two things is certain. Either the words did not come to them “with power in the Holy Ghost, and with much assurance,” or the children are reckless and hardened. Whichever way it is, it is very bad, and shows the dreadful condition of society.

Another gentleman states that out of 431 unfortunate females in the “penitentiaries,” 311 of them were scholars, and 15 of them were teachers in schools. Thus, it appears, [192] that the time and labor of their instructors were entirely lost.

Such also, is the raging desire for intoxicating drinks, that six judges, and the same number of clergymen (magistrates), have one complaint. “There is scarcely a crime comes before us, that is not directly, or indirectly, caused through strong drink.”

From one printed document, we learn that there are at least, in the United Kingdom, two millions of drunken Sabbath breakers. Dr. Campbell says, “Protestant and pious Britain is annually spending half a million of money in the world’s salvation, and sixty-five millions in strong drinks.” Newman Hall calculates that the 1,500,000 religionists in the United Kingdom spend annually two millions in strong drinks. Another gentleman states that, of this destroying element, the home consumption for 1851 was: Rum, 2,902,206 gallons; Brandy, 1,861,034; Geneva, 28,273; Foreign Wines, of various sorts, 6,684,657; British Spirits, 25,844,887; and Malt Liquors 442,679,351; making a total of four hundred and eighty millions of gallons of various intoxicating fluids. The “immoral Mormon” community must be very much reduced if it can produce a corresponding amount of drinks and drinkers. Salt Lake City must fall far below her present standard before she can produce her proportion of 18,853 dealers in male liquors, the number found in the model city of London at the present time.

I think that after our modest, sober-minded, moral friends have taken a look at their own faces, in their own mirror, they will be able to discover a few dark spots upon them. And before they say anything more about their neighbors, it will be advisable to appear themselves with a clean face. Could as much crime, wickedness, and abominations of every kind, be found in Utah, as is seen at all hours of the day and night, in this eminently Christian land, it would be sufficient to sink it to the lowest depth of misery, degradation, and damnation. The mind shrinks from the contemplation of such horrid scenes of wickedness and abomination that we are hourly compelled to witness.

We turn, then, with some degree of comfort to the peaceful vales of Utah! UTAH! “with all thy faults we love [193] thee still!” There, “Industry meets its reward.” There, the care-worn sons of toil and wretchedness can find a shelter and a home. There, every noble and generous sentiment find sympathy! There, virtue is protected. There, chastity finds a nursery, and is nourished, and has room to grow. There, the base libertine and seducer is not allowed to prowl about, and laugh at the victim he robbed of virtue! But he must atone for his wickedness with his blood, and thus be prevented from committing such crimes again. O, Utah! the joy, the pride, the admiration of the righteous, but a terror to evil doers. Thee and thy children have become the object oft of scorn, the envy, and the hatred of the wicked, but of the favor of Heaven. One thing is certain, and that is, the wicked will continue to wax worse and worse; and our Christian (?) enemies will continue to be “boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, truce-breakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despises of them that are good; traitors, heady, high minded, lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God.” They will continue to have “a form of godliness,” but will “deny the power thereof.” And from such all right-minded people will “turn away.” But the Saints will continue to “add unto their faith virtue, knowledge, patience, temperance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and charity.”

These things will be in the Saints and abound, so that they will neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of God, but the door will be opened to them, and they will be administered unto in the kingdom of God. (Mill. Star 15:785-788)


Change in Public Sentiment Towards Us

  1. W. Richards, Mill. Star editor

December 3, 1853

In our last, we gave an extract from the New York Tribune, and another from “Chambers’ Repository of Tracts, on Mormonism.” We considered these extracts appropriate for the Star, not that they presented altogether accurate views of “Mormonism,” or just conclusions upon it, but from the tolerant spirit manifested, and the liberal sentiments expressed, in the [194] articles, being so contrary to what we mostly see exhibited towards the Latter-day Saints.

We are glad to see that the public press is not so bigoted and prejudiced in all quarters, as it is in many parts where the Saints attempt to preach the Truth. It is pleasing to every honest man to see a degree of liberality exhibited among those who do not see exactly alike in all things. And we shall be glad to see this spirit increase, until every individual upon the face of the earth shall be at liberty to worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience.

It appears that the article in the Tribune was elicited by “seeing in some English journals a degree of editorial unhappiness on the solution of the Mormon problem.” The Tribune holds that journalism, civilization, progressive enlightenment, American republicanism, and the cession of woman’s rights, will be of a sufficiently corrective nature to smooth down those peculiar features of “Mormonism” which present an obnoxious prominence to society in America, and in western Europe; that the “unhappiness” manifested by certain English editors arises from their misapprehension of the true character and influence of American principles and institutions; that the only subject difficult of adjustment between the “Mormons” and the people of the United States, is that of polygamy; and that even this subject presents no real occasion of alarm, as the system of a plurality of wives is a “false institution, and carries within itself the certainty of its own extinction,” of course when in contact with civilization, American institutions, &c.

We do not design to make lengthy remarks upon the extracts we have given but we will offer a few short observations that may lead the mind in the channel of Truth. There is not the least ground for “editorial unhappiness,” or any other unhappiness, regarding any principle advocated by the Latter-day Saints, except to those who do not wish to work righteousness. We must confess that to men of this class, whether editors, lawyers, divines, or what not, there is “something considerable” in, “The day is near at hand when wickedness must be swept from the earth,” and the American continent will be very likely to receive the first attention, as America was the [195] first to reject and disobey the Prophet of the Lord. But the righteous have naught to fear. Let them rejoice that the Church and Kingdom of God is now set up on the earth, never more to be thrown down, according to the predictions of the Prophets. That kingdom has been set up in America, under the only government on the face of the globe where the Kingdom of God could have been set up. Have the United States’ people any just cause of fear or alarm respecting their relation to the Latter-day Saints? The righteous have not the slightest ground for fear or alarm; on the contrary, they have abundant ground for hope and rejoicing. Must the laws and institutions of the Church and Kingdom of God fall before American institutions? We suppose not, because there is no clashing between the laws of God’s King. The principles of that Constitution are in favor of the fullest and freest toleration to all professions of religion. If the genius of that Constitution be thoroughly developed by the American people, every man will have full liberty to embrace that faith which his conscience may dictate, so long as he interferes not with his neighbor’s like rights–a man’s religion will be a matter between him and his God. Then will any American be justified in saying that his brother American shall not believe in the faith of the Latter-day Saints? No. Will any American deny an American Latter-day Saint the right of accepting, as part of his religious belief, the doctrine of monogamy, or of polygamy–one wife to one husband, or several wives to one husband, as may appear righteous before God in that Saint’s eyes, so long as he interferes not with his neighbor’s like rights? No American has the least right to do this. An “Amendment” to the Constitution of the United States provides that Congress shall enact no law to interfere with any man’s religion, but that all shall be protected alike. If Congress then has no right to make a law to determine what religion a man shall profess, how can any state or territory have the right to make any such intolerant law? It cannot be, unless by trampling under foot the Constitution, or repealing it, with its amendments. But we apprehend that no true American would prove himself such a renegade as this. Even the old world would laugh to scorn such a backward step. The fact is–[196]there is not the slightest ground for difficulty between the United States and the Latter-day Saints, no matter the question–polygamy or whatever else, unless the States repudiate the principles of their glorious, heaven-inspired Constitution. If this be done, of course the question will assume another phase to what it does now–a phase we will not discuss till a more convenient and appropriate season. Those, whether English or American, who imagine that American principles will wear away the polygamy of the Latter-day Saints, or that the polygamy of the Latter-day Saints is a “false institution, and carries within itself the certainty of its own extinction,” are laboring under a most egregious misconception of the genius of the Constitution of the United States, and the principles upon which the Latter-day Saints base the union of the sexes. The marriage covenant with the Saints is lying among them is delusive, for those who once are polygamists must ever continue to be polygamists, unless they fail in their covenants, which is not to be anticipated, only in exceptional cases. Therefore it is vain for editors to rejoice under such a hope, for it will prove as the fleeting shadow.

The work of Messrs. Chambers, on the whole, exhibits a remarkable contrast to years ago. We are glad to see such a reformation going on. We hope these enterprising publishers will not grow weary in well doing, but we trust that they will increase in every good work until the “perfect day;” if so, their bad works and words will be buried in oblivion, and we will assure Messrs. Chambers that, “in an enterprise so nobly philosophical and judicious, no unprejudiced or discerning mind can wish them anything but a continued and prolonged success,” in which we most cordially and heartily join.

We must, however, be allowed to confess ourselves rather amused at the conclusion which Messrs. Chambers come to, with regard to the Saints–“Our own conclusion is that the Mormon doctrines are for the most part nonsense, but that what the Mormons do is in many ways commendable.” This reminds us of a parable put by Jesus to the “chief priests and elders,” when they interrogated him concerning his authority–“A certain man had two [197] sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to day in my vineyard. He answered and said, I will not; but afterward he repented, and went. And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir; and went not. Whether of them twain did the will of his father? They say unto him, The first. Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, that the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you.” The Latter-day Saints have not said that they will not obey the will of their Father in heaven, but they have no objection to being allowed the credit which Messrs. Chambers give them of doing what is good and commendable. And if “publicans and harlots” went into the kingdom of God before “chief priests and elders,” because the former received the testimony of John, and the latter rejected it, we may indulge a hope, if God has not changed, that polygamist Latter-day Saints may get into the kingdom of God before contemporary reverends and divines, because the Saints received the testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith, whereas the divines and reverends rejected it.

Messrs. Chambers hope that “there is natural health and virtue enough to lead them back to a nobler and purer relation of the sexes,” that is, in other words, from polygamy to monogamy. We do not anticipate that. But we do hope that there ever will be, among the Saints, “natural health and virtue enough to lead them back to a nobler and purer relation of the sexes” than obtains in Christendom. And it shall ever be our fond duty to foster and promote this virtue, until seduction, adultery, and all licentiousness be banished from God Almighty’s earth; and lawful, honorable marriage be the sole condition and foundation of the “relation of the sexes.” (Mill. Star 15:792-794)



The Father and God of the Human Family

  1. W. Richards, Mill. Star editor

December 10, 1853

The above sentiment appeared in Star No. 48, a little to the surprise of some of its readers; and while the sentiment may have appeared blasphemous to the [198] ignorant, it has no doubt given rise to some serious reflections with the more candid and comprehensive mind. A few reasonable and Scriptural ideas upon this subject may be profitable at the present time.

Then Adam is really God! And why not? If there are lords many and Gods many, as the Scriptures inform us, why should not our Father Adam be one of them? Did he not prove himself as worthy of that high appellation as any other being that ever lived upon the earth? Certainly he did, so far as history informs us, unless we can except the Son of God. We have no account in Scripture that Adam ever willfully transgressed, when we consider him independent of the woman. The Apostle informs us distinctly that the woman was in the transgression, being deceived, but Adam was not deceived. Adam fell, but his fall became a matter of necessity after the woman had transgressed. Her punishment was banishment from the Garden, and Adam was necessitated to fall, and go with her, in order to obey the first great command given unto them–to multiply and replenish the earth; or, in the language of the Prophet Lehi, “Adam fell that men might be.” The fall of Adam, therefore, was virtually required at his hands, that he might keep the first great command, and that the purposes of God might not fail, while at the same time the justice of God might be made manifest in the punishment incurred by the transgression of the woman, for whom the man is ever held responsible in the government of God.

The Scriptures inform us that Christ was as a lamb slain from before the foundation of the world. If, therefore, the plan of salvation was matured before the foundation of the world, and Jesus was ordained to come into the world, and die at the time appointed, in order to perfect that plan, we must of necessity conclude that the plan of the fall was also matured in the councils of eternity, and that it was as necessary for the exalting and perfecting of intelligences, as the redemption. Without it they could not have known good and evil here, and without knowing good and evil they could not become Gods, neither could their children. No wonder the woman was tempted when it was said unto her–“Ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” No wonder Father Adam [199] fell, and accompanied the woman, sharing in all the miseries of the curse, that he might be the father of an innumerable race of beings who would be capable of becoming Gods.

With these considerations before us, we can begin to see how it is that we are under obligations to our father Adam, as to a God. He endured the sufferings and the curse that we might be; and we are, that we might become Gods. Through him the justice of God was made manifest. Jesus came into the world, endured, and suffered, to perfect our advantages for becoming Gods, and through him the mercy of God abounded. By the first man, Adam, came death, the triumph of evil; and by the second, came life everlasting, the triumph of good. Each was necessary in the order he appeared; if the first Adam had not performed his part, the second could not have had his work to do. Both acted the part assigned to them, in a most God-like manner, and the Great Eloheim accepted the world at their hands as His own, “for by the power of my Spirit created I them; yea, all things, both spiritual and temporal; firstly, spiritual–secondly, temporal, which is the beginning of my work; and again, firstly, temporal–and secondly, spiritual, which is the last of my work.” Thus the great I AM owns all things–the temporal and the spiritual, the justice and the mercy, to be His own work. Then why may not Adam be a God, as well as any of his sons, inasmuch as he has performed the work to which the Great Eloheim appointed him?

In ancient times they were called Gods unto whom the word of God came, because of which Moses became a God unto Pharaoh. The Almighty was not so jealous of His Godly title but that He could say to Moses–“See, I have made thee a God to Pharaoh.” And if John’s saying be true, God has purposed to make him that over-cometh, a pillar in the temple of God, and to “write upon him the name of my God.” “His name shall be in their foreheads.”

This is the hope of all Saints who have a just conception of the future; and why should we not be willing for father Adam to inherit all things, as well as for ourselves? He is the first, the Father of all the human family, and his glory will be above all, for he will be God over all, necessarily, standing as he will through all [200] eternity at the head of those who are the redeemed of his great family. Though all the sons should, through their faithfulness, become Gods, they would still know that the Son was not greater than the Father. Were we to trace this subject in all its bearings, we should find the principles of the Godhead planted in every righteous and well-organized family upon the earth, and that they only require cultivation to cause their expansion and development to be equal to anything we can now conceive of as adding power and glory to the God of all worlds. The Great Eloheim rules over worlds. He is God over them, because of His right and power to rule, govern, and control. The exercise of this power is a natural right in the order of Priesthood, which belongs to every Patriarch, or Father, in the human family, so long as he rules subordinately to the laws of Heaven. According to the order of that God by whom we are ruled, a man is not only permitted to hold full jurisdiction over his own family, but he is held responsible for any violation, by them, of the revealed will of Heaven. A man that controls a work, is the only one that can be held responsible for that work. It would be most unjust to require responsibility where there is no power to govern and control. Every man who has a family, and power to control them, is exercising the rights and powers of a God, though it may be in a very small capacity. There are two grand principles, by virtue of which all intelligent beings have a legitimate right to govern and hold dominion; these are, by begetting children from their own loins, and by winning the hearts of others to voluntarily desire their righteous exercise of power extended over them. These constitute a sure foundation for an eternal throne–a kingdom as perpetual as God’s. No usurped power, to be maintained by the shedding of blood, is connected with such a government. It is upon this foundation that the throne of Michael is established as Father, Patriarch, God; and it is for all his children who come into this world, to learn and fully understand the eternity of that relationship.

Could we view our first Parent in his true position, we should find him acting in a similar capacity to the whole family of man, as each father does to his individual family, controlling, at his pleasure, all things which [201] relate to the great object of their being–their exaltation to thrones and Godlike powers. We can conceive, from Scripture, principle, and analogy, that Adam’s watch-care is ever over mankind; that by his own approbation and direction Gospel dispensations have been revealed from heaven to earth in different ages of the world; that he was the first that ever held the keys of Gospel power upon the earth, and by his supervision they have been handed down from age to age, whenever they have been among men; that under his direction a Deluge once swept the earth of the wickedness which was upon it, and laws were given to Israel, as a nation, to lead them to Christ; and that he will in the end call men to judgment for the privileges which have been extended to them in this world.

Hear what the Prophet Daniel says upon this subject–“I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days, “Adam” did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool; his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him; thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him; the judgment was set, and the books were opened. . . .And behold, one like the son of Man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.”–(Dan. vii. 9, 10, 13, 14).

Again, the word of the Lord through the Prophet Joseph, gives additional importance, if possible, to the part which Adam acts relating to his children, which reads as follows–“but, behold, verily I say unto you, before the earth shall pass away, Michael, mine archangel, shall sound his trump, and then shall all the dead awake, for their graves shall be opened, and they shall come forth; yea, even all.”

From the foregoing we are enabled to draw important conclusions, that before the coming of the Lord Jesus in the clouds of heaven, to take the reins of government upon the earth, Adam comes and gathers around him all [202] that have ever held keys of power under him upon the earth, in any of the dispensations thereof to man; he calls forth the dead from their graves, at the sound of his trump he brings them to judgment, and they render unto him an account of their several stewardships; the books are opened that a righteous judgment may be rendered by him who now sits upon his throne, not only as the Father, but the Judge, of men; and in that capacity assemblage are now gathered in one grand council around the great Patriarch of all Patriarchs, consisting of his sons, who have been faithful in that which was committed to them; and all this preparatory to that great event, when the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven should be given to the Saints of the Most High. Daniel saw that the Saints possessed the kingdom, by virtue of which Adam was once more in possession of the dominion given unto him before the fall, which was over every living thing that moved upon the earth, which rendered him the universal Sovereign and Lord of all.

At this important period, when Adam is reinstated with full power upon the earth, seated upon his throne, as Daniel saw him–a glorious and an immortal God, one like the Son of Man comes in the clouds of heaven (as oft times represented by the Apostles), to the Ancient of days, and receives from him dominion, glory, and a kingdom; or in other words, Michael, having accomplished the work committed to him, pertaining to this world, delivers up an account of his stewardship over the same, to that character represented as Yahovah in the creation of the world, who reigns in unison with those upon the earth, until his work is fully accomplished–till the last great contest with the enemy, who has been released for a little season, is won; then he in turn delivers up the kingdom to the great Eloheim, that in the language of the Apostle, “God may be all in all.”

This final surrender, we are to bear in mind, does not detract from the God-like power and dominion of our first Parent, nor of our Lord Jesus Christ. In the Patriarchal order of government, each and every ruler is independent in his sphere, his rule extending to those below, and not to those above him, in the same order. While the God of unnumbered worlds is acknowledged to [203] be his God and Father, Adam still maintains his exalted position at the head of all those who are saved from among the whole family of man; and he will be God over all those who are made Gods from among men. Each and every God will be honored as a God, without any violation of the laws of heaven–without any encroachment upon that command which saith, “thou shalt have no other Gods before me,” for the glory and honor of all true Gods constitute the glory, honor, power, and dominion of the great Eloheim, according to His own order of government.

We can conceive of no higher, or more perfect order of government than that which is embraced in Patriarchal authority. By virtue of this order, all Gods, whether in heaven or on earth, exercise a righteous power, and possess a just dominion. In this order, all are both subjects and rulers, each possessing Almighty rights and powers–Almighty rules over those who have descended from them, at the same time rendering all honor and power to those from whom they have descended. What a glorious system of order is here portrayed–one in which an innumerable succession of Gods, Patriarchs, and rulers, can reign forever in the greatest possible harmony that can be comprehended by intelligences, while each is independent in his position, as is all intelligence. As the great Eloheim is supreme and Almighty over all His children and kingdom, so is Adam as great a ruler, or God, in his sphere, over his children, and the kingdom which they possess. The earth and all things upon it were created for Adam, and it was given to him of his Father to have dominion over it. In that dominion he will be sustained throughout all eternity.

In relation to this earth alone and its inhabitants, Michael and Gabriel have perhaps held the greatest keys of dominion and power. They were, both in their day, Fathers of all living, and had dominion given unto them over all things. Gabriel, or Noah, held the keys of this power under Michael, and to him he will render an account of all things before Michael renders an account of his stewardship to Him whose dominion reaches over many worlds, and who is God over all Gods. These two important personages have ever been watchful of the interests of their children, hence we find them [204] ministering from time to time to holy men upon the earth–Gabriel often appearing unto Daniel, and opening to his view the most wonderful visions of the future, by which he could act as a God to the people, outlive the wisdom of the astrologers, and so control the elements that the burning furnace could have no power over him; Michael also coming to the release of Gabriel, when he was withstood one and twenty days from answering Daniel’s prayer.

We also read of Michael disputing with the Devil about the body of Moses, probably because the Devil was not willing that Moses should be translated, inasmuch as he had sinned; but even in this, Michael was the great deliverer. Again we read that Michael shall stand up for the children of his people in a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation, and at that time every one that shall be found written in the book shall be delivered, and those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake.

From these and many other Scriptures, we find that those important personages are clothed upon with no mean authority, and that Michael has power to deliver men from the power of the Devil, which is death; that by the sound of his own trump–the trump of the archangel, the nations of the dead shall awake and come forth to judgment, and there render an account to the ANCIENT OF DAYS seated upon his burning throne. Then shall the nations know that he is their Judge, their Lawgiver, and their God, and upon his decree hangs the destiny of the assembled dead. Yes, our Judge will be a kind and compassionate Father, by whom none can pass, but through whom all glory, dominion, and power will be ascribed to the great ETERNAL. (Mill. Star 15:801-804)


Fear Bringeth Torment

  1. W. Richards, Mill. Star Editor

December 17, 1853

The nature of the human mind is such as to be easily operated upon, and from the excitement which we often find existing with men, both individually and collectively, we learn that they meet with objects not in keeping with [205] their nature, their understanding, belief, or desires. Such objects are generally repulsed by the mental powers, and too often without a proper investigation of that which may at first appear irreconcilable, but after more mature deliberation, becomes very desirable. This more generally arises from ignorance, not knowing the result of the things which they may have under consideration, or if knowledge is had, it is to the effect that those objects or principles will prove destructive to their happiness and fondly-cherished hopes.

Turn to the religious, political, commercial, and other portions of mankind, and you find a degree of consternation existing in the ranks of all classes, which either plainly declares their ignorance of the future, or their knowledge that it will be inauspicious to the fulfillment of their desires. In either case, the truly lamentable condition of the world is betrayed to the careful observer.

Wherever the Spirit of the Lord prevails, and leads into all truth, its tendency is to allay every excitement of the mind, and afford to it a degree of calmness and serenity unknown to those who possess it not–a peace not derived from the world, and which, therefore, cannot be disturbed or taken away by the world. Persecutions, misery, and even death may be endured, without that tormenting fear that distracts the wicked, when we know that all is right, but this knowledge can only be derived from that Spirit which leads into all truth. With this in possession, a Jacob could gather up his feet and die rejoicing; the Prophet Samuel could perform the deed of hewing down king Agag with his own sword, without fearing reproach; the Hebrew children could meet the fiery furnace with apparent indifference; and Israel would go against their enemies, and destroy them, without fear of condemnation, because they knew that they were justified–that all with them was right, and approbated by God; that which is revolting in the extreme to the natural and uncultivated man, could be looked upon, and engaged in, with the utmost composure. Under the influence of the same Spirit, Jesus endured an ignominious death, without even reviling. And the Almighty has said He will laugh and deride in the day of calamity and fear that shall come [206] upon the wicked. From these and many other facts, we can plainly see that no object or circumstance should be allowed to destroy our peace, by agitating our minds with fearful apprehensions of its results–apprehensions which may never be realized. When men richly enjoy the Spirit of the Lord, they have peace and assurance; but fearful apprehensions are a just measure meted out to increase the miseries of the damned. Where doubt and uncertainty exist, fear is engendered, and distracts the mind, hence says the Apostle–“He that doubteth is damned already.” The wicked know not the peace of God, for they have not that Spirit by which the doctrine and will of God are known.

Many of the Saints endure extreme sufferings in their feelings, and allow their peace of mind to be broken up, by not guarding against this captivating evil. Perhaps one has heard something of his brother, that he thinks is very bad, and if he had great confidence in him, it has tried his faith very much, not in that brother alone, but peradventure the devil has been successful in getting him to doubt the truth of his own principles, as well as the integrity of his brother, and his soul becomes harrowed up, until he finally loses confidence in himself as well as in his brother. In this way many have given themselves up to the power of the evil one, when they were as far from him as the east is from the west, until they gave way to jealousy, distrust, and fear.

Many principles have been revealed from time to time, which have proved a source of trouble to some, not because they were untrue, but because Saints would indulge in fears lest those principles might be untrue, while they knew very well that their anxiety of mind could not affect the results of those principles in the least degree. The idea that God should call a Prophet in the nineteenth century, and tell him that the Gospel had not been preached in purity for many hundreds of years, and that he must carry it to the ends of the earth, was considered a most unpardonable impeachment of God’s justice and mercy unto men. The most bitter vituperations were indulged in by thousands who now know that such a declaration is perfectly in keeping with the sacredness of their own professed Scriptural faith, and many of them are [207] weltering under the very curses they were so ready to heap upon others. Polygamy has unnecessarily disturbed the feelings of some, from their fearful apprehensions of its consequences, and thereby caused them to deny principles which they know to be true, while they would appear far more sensible if they would let that alone which they may never have to do with, or even be permitted to, if they should desire. Baptism for the dead was considered a most wonderful superstition, giving trouble to those who seemed wishful for something to make trouble from, nourishing and fostering their unhappy feelings with all the zeal their ignorance could support, while in a short time truth began to be more fully developed, and their folly made to appear proportionately.

It has been said that Adam is the God and Father of the human family, and persons are perhaps in fear and great trouble of mind, lest they have to acknowledge him as such in some future day. For our part we would much rather acknowledge Adam to be our Father, than hunt for another, and take up with the devil. Whoever is acknowledged Father must have the rights and honor that belong to him. No man may ever expect to attain to more than he is willing others should enjoy. If these things have power to disturb the pure mind, we apprehend that even greater troubles than these may arise before mankind learn all the particulars of Christ’s incarnation–how and by whom he was begotten; the character of the relationships formed by that act; the number of wives and children he had, and all other circumstances with which he was connected, and by which he was tried and tempted in all things like unto man. Whatever may prove to be the facts in the case, it certainly would exhibit a great degree of weakness on the part of any one to indulge in fears and anxieties about that which he has no power to control. Facts still remain facts, whether kept or revealed. If there is a way pointed out by which all beings who come into this world can lay the foundation for rule, and a never-ending increase of kingdoms and dominions, by which they can become Gods, we are as willing the Lord Jesus Christ should enjoy them all as any other being, and we believe the descendants of such a sire would glory in ascribing honor and power to him as their God. The [208] Apostle informs us that those who are redeemed shall be like Jesus; not to say, however, that they shall be wifeless and childless, and without eternal affections.

It should be borne in mind that these wonderful mysteries, as they are supposed to be, are only mysteries because of the ignorance of men; and when men and women are troubled in spirit over those things which come to light through the proper channel of intelligence, they only betray their weakness, ignorance, and folly. This expels the enlightening influence of the Spirit of truth, the devil then takes possession, and leads captive at his will. Surrounded as mankind are with these besetments, it should be the study of all Saints to control, and not be controlled by, influences which are destructive to their happiness and peace. To do this they must begin at home–in their own bosoms, and if all will secure the reign of peace there, they will have power to disseminate that principle until it covers the whole earth.

Proper investigation, and a prayerful desire to know the truth, are commendable in every intelligent being, and these cultivate a familiarity with the Spirit of truth, that will lead us in the way of inspiration. It is written that no man knoweth the things of God, but by the Spirit of God. This Spirit should be prayerfully sought after, with all diligence; and when it whispers approval to our spirits, and opens up to our understanding, in silent meditations and in dreams, the pure principles of intelligence, we can exclaim like Daniel of old, “Surely there is a God in Heaven, that revealeth Secrets;” and then can we teach our fellow creatures the way of truth and life; but how the folly of men appears when they attempt to preach and expound things which are far beyond their comprehension, and thereby bring the Gospel and those who live under it, into disrepute before the world. Such wander in the dark themselves, and lead others into the same mazy labyrinth, to share with them their merited reproach.

When men have to do with principles of truth, they have to do with that which is Eternal; and whether adopted or rejected they will have an influence over all those to whom they are revealed. These principles may have been in the world before, or they may have been kept by him for a wise purpose, but men now have the [209] assurance that all things shall come forth which can have a bearing upon their exaltation; and concerning the same it was long since said, The wise shall understand, but the wicked shall not understand. This Key given by the Prophet, that the wise and the wicked might be known, should never be forgotten by the Saints. (Mill. Star 15:824-826)


Going Home to Zion

John Jaques

Millennial Star, February 4, 1854

The season for the gathering of the Saints home to Zion has now set in. Hundreds are bidding adieu to their friends, relations, and acquaintances, and to the country of their birth. The step which such Saints are now taking is one of the most important in the course of their mortal lives, for the period of emigration from his native land forms an epoch in the history of a Saint, and the spirit in which the journey is performed influences most unmistakably his future career.

It is a fact that hundreds who have in years gone by emigrated for the land of Zion, have never made their appearance at the head quarters of the Church. Some have scarcely been heard of after their landing in America; others have stopped short on the way, being too much engrossed in attending to fading riches; while others still have become offended at something or other, and have turned back their faces to the starting-place, bringing with them little else than evil reports.

Now it is grievous to see men and women obey the first principles of the Gospel, combat the prejudice of their friends and acquaintances, exert themselves commendably to preach the truth to others, brave the scoffs of reputedly pious Christians, sacrifice worldly prospects and property or order to gather, journey a few thousand miles towards Zion, and, after all, stop short of the goal, and turn back to the beggarly elements of the world. Seldom do such Saints regain the vigour and freshness of spirit which once characterized them, indeed it is doubtful whether they can ever reach that position which they would have attained had they not fallen back, for in [210] watching their subsequent career one is forcibly reminded of the Saviour’s word–“No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” Doubtless, when the judgments of God are abroad in the earth, these weak-faithed Saints, if their minds are not altogether seared, feel keenly the effects of their want of perseverance.

It is frequently said that prevention is better than cure. This is true in respect to the falling away of emigrating Saints. The first thing to look at in order to prevent falling away is the starting-point–What is the object of gathering? The next thing to be considered is–What is the expectation in the accomplishing of the gathering? Upon these two points depends, in a great degree, the question of endurance to the end of the journey. If a right foundation be laid at the starting-point, it will be easier to continue right, and consequently the probability of failure or backing out will be less. For the welfare of those who are not engaged in gathering, a few brief reflections on the matter may, perhaps, be offered with propriety.

What is the object of gathering? It is essential that every Saint who emigrates should have clear and distinct views of the proper object of the gathering. If he has not, it will be far better for him to stay in his own land until he have, and he will then be less liable to disappointment. There are, perhaps, some who gather for the sole purpose of acquiring an easy competence, or the riches of this world. Now it is not to be denied that in America the chances for a man obtaining competence or riches are greater than in England, especially for a poor man, yet it is a most unmistakable truth that any one professing to be a Saint, who emigrates with the sole object of bettering his temporal condition, had much better stay in his native place, for if he set out for Zion he will most assuredly meet with disappointment somewhere. Every man and every woman who starts with the idea that the gathering is for temporal blessing only, will inevitably become dissatisfied, and be numbered with the murmurers and complainers, who are not of the blood of Ephraim. And as behoves every one to search temporal welfare is not the only nor the principal object he has in view in gathering.

[211] The true object of the gathering is to build up the Kingdom of God, that the honest in heart, living and dead, may be redeemed, and righteousness and immortality prevail upon the earth. This great work cannot be accomplished by gaining this world’s riches, but by an unflinching obedience to the commands and precepts of the Almighty, yea, by living by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God, through His servants the Prophets, or in any way He may see fit to communicate. Every Saint that emigrates should go with this object, or it will be loss to him. When this object is faithfully kept in view, the reward is certain, for, says Jehovah, “Them that honour me, I will honour.” As God has set His hand to gather Israel from every nation and kindred and tongue and people, it is not to be supposed that He will trifle with hypocrites–they may expect the mask of hypocrisy to be torn from them, and their true character to be exposed in the light of day, to be seen and read of all men. After having winked at the ignorance and folly of men for centuries, and now again having sent the Gospel of salvation to the earth, as a final testimony and warning, it is not to be expected that He will trifle with men, or permit them unchecked to put on the Gospel as a cloak for their selfishness. With a high hand and an outstretched arm, and with judgments poured out, will the Almighty gather His people Israel in these last days. Therefore is it necessary that all should be careful how they engage in the gathering for their hands should be clean, and their hearts pure, for it is written that it will yet be difficult, yea impossible, for any to go up to Zion except they be upright in heart. It is well to make this the first consideration in gathering, and it will be so with the man who knows the work is true, and who is honest.

What is the expectation in the accomplishing of the gathering? It may be said that some start from their native land in a right spirit, and with a desire to gather to the head quarters of the Church to build up the kingdom, yet do not arrive there, and do not retain the good spirit they had when they started, nor the desire for progressing up to Zion. This may be very true. But why do emigrating Saints lose their good spirits and their desires to build up Zion, and stop short if their expectations concerning the [212] occurrences of the journey are not realized, and the weakness of the flesh, and very probably a neglect of watching and prayer finish the downfall which non-realized anticipations originally induced.

Now it must be evident to every one upon the least reflection, that a journey of eight thousand miles on land and water cannot be accomplished, by the poor especially, without much inconvenience and privation being encountered. Those who are accustomed to frequent travelling would experience this; much more liable then, would be those persons who never travelled twenty miles from their chimney corner, to meet with circumstances of a very different character to any they have ever before been acquainted with, and which might be calculated to ruffle their temper, and disturb their peace of mind.

On arrival at Liverpool, a Saint inexperienced in travelling might imagine inconvenience to be crowding upon him he would most certainly think so by the time he was quartered on board this vessel. It should never be forgotten that there are sharpers in Liverpool, as well as other large towns, and that the fraud practised on emigrants are innumerable. Here it is well for an emigrant to look out for himself, that he is not taken advantage of by strangers. It is impossible to describe all the methods that are pursued to impose upon the unsuspecting and inexperienced. The best protective is prudence and wariness–not to trust to an unknown somebody who is very officious, and seems wonderfully obliging, but who in the end contrives, either in one way or another, to be paid liberally for all he does.

But supposing a Saint gets snugly embarked on his vessel, without any special, unexpected inconvenience, he will then find that watchfulness, a prayerful disposition, and a good store of faith and patience, are indispensably necessary to his making a comfortable voyage. A little thought will convince any one that when several hundred people, having different habits, tastes, had dispositions, are suddenly brought from various parts of the country to live together in one large room between the decks of a ship, there to eat, drink, sleep, and perform many other duties and necessities of life–a little thought will convince any one that many inconveniences will arise, [213] and that when each fullness, patience, and forbearance are not liberally exercised, much unpleasantness will result. Then may come a storm, sea-sickness, and consequent temporary disability to some, which will not mend the matter. But when a company come together, and all are fully determined to make the best of everything, and to bear with each other’s weaknesses, then the voyage may prove a very pleasant one–in short, a pleasure trip.

On ship-board, and, indeed, in all the journey, tattling, or talking too liberally of the brethren or sisters, should be guarded against most strictly, because the deck of a ship is a small place, and a word, though whispered as a secret, is likely to quickly run over the whole vessel, and then hard feeling, or something worse, is sure to ensue.

At New Orleans, apostates may be met with, but in St. Louis and vicinity, they are far more numerous. With oily speech and air address do these persons insinuate themselves into the good graces of those who are weak in the faith, and then things previously undreamed of are unfolded, as solid facts, to the ears of the astonished Saints. Truth there may be in these things, but it is truth adulterated, highly coloured, and highly seasoned; the whole is not genuine. Satan and his emissaries know a little of the power and value of truth, and consequently they use a degree of it in order to accomplish their purposes more surely, and with greater facility. But the Saint who is humble, faithful, prayerful, and power severing, will have the small still whisperings of the Holy Spirit to enlighten his mind, and to direct him in the path he ought to pursue. And first and foremost let him suspect any person or influence that diverts his mind, in the least degree, from the true object of the gathering, or turns aside his face from Zion. He may hear of things of which he did not expect to hear, he may see things which he did not anticipate seeing, but still his watchword should be–To the mountains! And to honor it every nerve should be strained, every available means put in requisition, and every enticing hindrance resisted. John Bunyan, in his own quaint and forcible manner depicts the almost ceaseless opposition, now alluring, and anon fierce and formidable, to which his Pilgrim was subjected ere he reached the heavenly city. Now if a Saint can go up to [214] Zion without being tempted and tried, in a greater or less degree, I do not see rightly in the matter. I do not expect such a thing, because Satan does not like to see the people of God assembling for the day of decision, and it is contrary to reason to suppose that his Satanic majesty will not do all in his power to prevent their assembling. It appears to me that an emigrating Saint should keep his face set as a flint Zionward, his eye should be fixed unflinchingly upon the end of his journey, he should press forward through good and evil report, turning neither to the right hand nor to the left until he sit down with Brigham, and Heber, and Willard, and the general assembly of the Saints, in the kingdom of God. When a Saint starts for Zion, his business is to get there. To accomplish this, everything should be made to succumb, and to render aid. Nothing, but counsel from the proper source, should be permitted to change the determination of the soul. Were this more generally the case, would there be any falling back? If I were to give my decision upon this point, I think it would be in the negative. When a Saint starts for Zion, let him make it the object of his life to get there. This will prove his faith to be similar to that of Habakkuk, who said–“Although the fig-tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the love shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls; yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds’ feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places.”

One may say–“But I actually saw, with mine own eyes, actions by some of the Saints on ship-board which were any thing but creditable, and when I arrived at St. Louis my eyes were opened, for there men who professed `Mormonism’ could drink, and swear, and conduct themselves in a manner shameful to see.” Very likely, but have you forgotten that the Gospel net gathers fish both good and bad, and that even when the Bridegroom comes, the kingdom of God will consist of half wise persons with their lamps properly trimmed, and half foolish with no oil in their lamps? The failings of others should stimulate you to greater watchfulness and diligence and their [215] downfall should only point out to you the stumbling block over which they fell, that you may be prepared to avoid it, and miss a fate similar to theirs. Salvation is a personal concern, and the weaknesses and short comings, of others should never prevent any man from working out his own salvation, nor be urged as an excuse for altering in duty, or turning out of the straight and narrow road to celestial exaltation and happiness. The commandment in these last days is as personal as in ancient days–“Save yourselves from this untoward generation.”

An emigrating Saint may be disappointed in the treatment he receives from his acquaintances. Do not expect too much from them. Start prepared to go to Zion as though you had no acquaintances with you, and expected to meet none on the way, nor even at the end of the journey. Go in self reliance, knowing that God is your stay; and then any assistance your friends may give you will be the more welcome. If you have friends in Liverpool, New Orleans, or St. Louis, do not expect too much from them, be prepared to help yourself, and then if your expectations are not realized, the non-realization may not be of the most disagreeable character. All the emigration passes through the places named, and through Liverpool and St. Louis pass many of the Elders on missions, consequently it will be readily seen that those Saints who reside at these places may have more friends call upon them than can be made comfortable, though the most laudable desire may exist to make them comfortable, and the best feelings may be filling the breasts of the visited. Jesus Christ fed five thousand people with five loaves and two fishes, but your friends in Liverpool or St. Louis, who have a small stewardship, may not have sufficient faith, even when joined with yours, to provide as they might wish for their friends. A little consideration in these particulars may avert much unpleasantness and disappointment.

In short, he who wishes to go up to Zion, should start for the sole purpose of building up the kingdom of God, should not expect too much help from others on the way, should shut his ears to the tales of evil designing men, and should give no rest to his soul until he reach the [216] mountains of Zion. When there, he will meet with those who are amply qualified to give him further counsel. (Mill. Star 16:65-68)


The Laying on of Hands

Elder Joseph Hall

Millennial Star, February 4, 1854

The laying on of hands is as little understood in the world, but as much ridiculed as many other doctrines taught and practised by the Latter-day Saints, yet the principle and the practice of this doctrine are as ancient as those of any other doctrine of which we have any account, either in the Old or New Testament. The doctrine was well understood by the Prophets and the Patriarchs, and by the Apostles of Jesus Christ. It was practised by them for blessing, healing the sick, conferring on men the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and ordaining them to the Priesthood. Surely “darkness hath covered the earth, and gross darkness the minds of the people,” that they cannot see or else they have closed up their minds that they will not see, these principles of truth. Hence I may be pardoned for offering a few remarks upon the subject, although the Elders of the Church are preaching it Sabbath after Sabbath.

If we commence the investigation on the subject with the Patriarchs, we turn to Gen. xlviii. Here we find the old man Jacob blessing his two grandsons–Ephraim and Manasseh. He conferred upon them the name of his fathers, Abraham and Isaac, also his own name, and conferred upon them one of the greatest blessing that righteous men ever desire–posterity. “Let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth,” said the old man. Query–Was Jacob a Prophet of the Lord? Did he speak by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit? Would his predictions be ratified in the heavens? And if so, may we not naturally expect them to be fulfilled? All Bible believers will answer in the affirmative to these questions.

How did Jacob confer these blessings upon his grand-sons? Through the laying on of hands. “And Israel stretched out his right hand, and laid it upon Ephraim’s head, who was the younger, and his left hand upon [217] Manasseh’s head, guiding his hands wittingly, for Manasseh was the first-born.” If this was the order of God anciently, why not now? If there are any servants of God now, they should possess like power, for the order of God’s kingdom is unchangeable. The power of God is eternal, and its effects are felt in every age of the world, when men are duly commissioned to act in His name.

There is no surer sign that a man has not been legally called, and chosen, and set apart to the ministry, than to hear him deny the necessity of the ordinances of the kingdom of God. No matter, whatever, what way the Lord has appointed for the communication of intelligence, blessings, power, or Priesthood, men should not presume to despise that way, for without the appointment of the Lord the blessings cannot be obtained any other way. If men attempt to obtain blessings from the Lord through any other than His appointed channel, they become “thieves and robbers.”

It is not so stated, but it is probable that in blessing his sons, as we read in Gen. xlix. Jacob laid his hands upon them. And it is evident that many of his predictions are fulfilled. Many yet remain to be fulfilled.

In Num. xxvii. we read that Moses, before he was taken away from Israel, was commanded to take Joshua, the son of Nun, and to lay his hands upon him, and to confer some of his (Moses’) honour upon him, and to set him before Eleazar the Priest, and before the congregation, and give him charge in their sight, that they might be obedient. Now the “honour” of Moses was his Priesthood, therefore he was commanded to lay some of his Priesthood upon Joshua. That Moses was a great Prophet and a Priest, no Bible believer will attempt to deny. And that his administrations were valid, and acknowledged of the Lord, will be at once admitted. In the last chapter of Deut., verse 9, we read–“And Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom; for Moses had laid his hands upon him; and the children of Israel hearkened unto him, and did as the Lord commanded Moses.”

Now let us see how the great Apostle to the Gentiles was ordained to the ministry. He himself tells that “no man taketh this honour (of the Priesthood) unto himself, but he that is called of God as was Aaron.”–Heb. v. 4. By [218] what authority did he himself speak and act? “For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ. But I certify you, brethren, that the Gospel which was preached of me, is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.”–Gal. i. 10-12. “As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.”–Acts xiii. 2, 3. Thus was Paul ordained by the laying on of hands, by the Apostles.

In his teachings and administrations, Paul exhibited the same doctrine. Timothy was ordained, and received a gift by the laying on of hands of the Apostle Paul.–1 Tim. ix. 14. Titus was ordained in like manner.

In Acts vi. we read that several others were set apart to assist in the ministry, and they were ordained in the same manner. Amongst them was Stephen. All acknowledge him to be an eminent man, full of the Holy Ghost.

The anointing of oil is closely connected with the laying on of hands, in the consecration to certain offices of the Priesthood, in blessing, or in the healing of the sick. “And thou shalt put them (the garments) upon Aaron they brother, and his sons with him; and shalt anoint them, and consecrate them, and sanctify them, that they may minister unto me in the priest’s office.”–Ex. xxviii.41. James says–“Is any sick among you; let them call for the Elders of the Church, and let them anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise them up; and if they have committed sin–“They shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.”

I need not quote the numerous other instances of the laying on of hands for the purpose above specified. All who feel interested can read them at their leisure.

We, the Latter-day Saints, are thought very presuming, and awfully blaspheming, because we contend for the faith once delivered to the Saints. James promised the forgiveness of sins at the time of the anointing with oil. [219] This is considered dreadful. “No man has power on earth to forgive sins,” say some. Jesus said to Peter–“Whosoever sins you remit, they shall be remitted; and whosoever sins you retain, they shall be retained.” This is either true or false. Those who believe Jesus, believe it to be true.

But however much our opponents object to this principle of power, it is no more than some of their own ministers claim for themselves. Read the following extracts from the “Book of Common Prayer.” After examining the sick patient as to his faith in the Articles of the Church, the minister says–“Our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath left Christ his church power to absolve all sinners who truly repent, and believe in him, of his great mercy forgive thee thine offences. And by his authority committed to me, I absolve thee from all thy sins, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, Amen.” If our advocacy of the power of the Priesthood which is given unto man is blasphemy, what is this? If our pretensions are presumptuous, this is not the less so. But one thing we can say–we do carry out the whole order of the ordinances of God, while our opponents do not, “because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinances, and broken the everlasting covenant.” Who then wonders at the darkness and the blindness that have come upon the people.

It is the duty of all mankind to investigate these and all other doctrines of the Lord Jesus Christ. There is a great responsibility resting upon those who stand forth as guides to the people. John says–“If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine (of Christ, including the laying on of hands), receive him not into your house; neither bid him God speed for he that biddeth him God speed, partakes of his evil deeds.” Paul says–“Though we or an angel from heaven preach any other Gospel unto you than that which we have preached, let him be accursed.”

In the midst of all the confusion that surrounds us, it is pleasing to know the truth, to contemplate the restoration of the true Church of Christ upon the earth with all its offices, ordinances, gifts, powers, and blessings, and that it is destined to triumph over the “world, the flesh, and the Devil;” and to accomplish the [220] salvation of all the honest in heart out of every nation, kindred, tongue, and people under heaven. The Lord hasten the day. Amen.


The Gifts and Blessings of God

John Jaques

Millennial Star, February 11, 1854

A MORMONITE FLABBERGASTED–A short time ago as a gentleman, residing in a town not a hundred miles from Shrewsbury, was returning home, he was accosted near his own door by one of those persons calling themselves Latter-day Saints, who offered him a tract. After some little conversation, the gentleman entered his house and was followed into his parlour by the Saints, when, the door and window being carefully closed, the following dialogue took place.–Gent.: Well, now you are here I should like to become acquainted with the doctrines of the sect that you belong to.–Saint: They are easily explained–we are in possession of the Book of Mormon which supersedes the Bible, and teaches us to do wonderful things–to perform miracles.–Gent.: Indeed, well what can you do? –Saint: We can remove mountains, we can make the blind to see, the lame to walk, and the deaf to hear.–Gent.: Wonderful, indeed, can you do anything else?–Saint: Yes truly–we can cure the sick without the aid of a physician, and we can speak in an unknown tongue. –Gent.: but am I to understand that when you are sick you can cure yourself, and can you interpret this unknown language after you have spoken it? –Saint: No; but my brother can cure me, and he can interpret the language that I have spoken.–Gent.: Well now, suppose you met with an accident, and were severely bruised, could you cure yourself and immediately get rid of all the marks?–Saint: No, I could not cure myself, but my brother could effect an immediate cure for me, and there would not be a trace of the bruises left.–Gent.: Indeed! What you tell me is so wonderful that I am desirous of testing your brother’s powers. So saying, he closed with the Saint, and with a flush [221] hit between the eyes, knocked him down and as similar causes produce like effects, the astonished Saint was no sooner on his legs than he was again floored. The same process was followed up until the battered Saint, unwilling to become a martyr to his faith in the Book of Mormon, earnestly entreated for mercy, when he was permitted to rise, and the doors being opened, he was dismissed with a smart application of a boot to that part which is said to be the seat of honour, and with it one solitary piece of advice–“There my saintly friend, go at once to thy brother, and get thyself cured of thy bruises; and when he has restored thy sight, and eradicated all traces of thy punishment from thy disfigured visage, which thou sayest he can do immediately, return to me, and I promise thee that I will become as good a saint as thyself.” Whether the severe ordeal through which the Saint had passed, produced any wavering in his faith, or that his brother was not sufficiently indoctrinated in the Mormonite method of healing, we (not having been enrolled in the Army of Latter-day Saints) have no means of ascertaining; but, we understand that this persecuted Saint was seen some days afterwards with one eye in deep mourning, and the other somewhat obfuscated.–Shropshire Conservative, Jan 14.

A paragraph characterized by more undisguised malignancy than is the above, seldom appears in the journals of the day. There is an infidelity of sentiment, and a spirit of coarse brutality, pervading the whole, which are equally repulsive to every inspiration of true religion, and revolting to every feeling of humanity. The paragraph does discredit to the writerÕs head and reveals the foulness of a heart of which none need envy him.

In the same journal is the report of “a splendid Banquet to Brother William Butler Lloyd, the first Orange Mayor of the loyal borough of Shrewsbury.” At this banquet was proposed a toast which “is always received with enthusiasm amongst Orangement, and especially when the brother is present,” being that of the “Grand Master of the Loyal Orange Institution of Great Britain.” [222] The “Grand Master, Brother T. J. Ouseley,” who happens to be no other than the editor of the Conservative, in responding to the toast, and in enlightenment of the “gentlemen in the room, not connected with the Order,” and who “had asked themselves the question–What is Orangeism?”–the “Grand Master,” in answering to the toast, said that he had “great pleasure in being enabled to give them an insight into the character of the Order,” that “of all institutions or societies in the world, the Orange is without question the best. It is not like some, founded for pecuniary purposes, and others solely for conviviality and good fellowship, it is founded, as the worthy chairman so truly stated, on the Bible.” The “gentlemen in the room, not connected with the Order,” may have been satisfied with the “Grand Master’s” explanation, and it may be that Orangeism “is founded on the Bible,” but when gentlemen out of “the room, not connected with Orangeism,” read the “Grand Master’s speech in the Conservative,” in the next column to that which contains an account of “A Mormonite Flabbergasted”–when outside gentlemen read this, would not serious thoughts cross their minds, that Orangeism was not such a super-excellent Order as the “Grand Master” editor had represented? Or would they think that the “Grand Master” must have put off his Orangeism, as he put off his banquet garments, before he sat down to inform his readers the chapter himself, before he inserted it in his journal, without disclaimer or a mad version? Impartial readers must have thought one or the other of these things.

Any one acquainted with the faith of the Latter-day Saints will at once perceive that the relation in the Conservative is a gross misrepresentation of principle, for no Latter-day Saint would converse as one in there stated to have done, because such sentiments in relation to the gifts and blessings of God, the Bible, and the Book of Mormon, are utterly unlike the doctrine of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

But leaving the “Grand Master” to develop the Orange theory in his own peculiar manner, a few remarks upon the continuity of what are termed supernatural gifts, and for which few but Latter-day Saints contend, may be appreciated by some, who like this Salopian editor, and [223] his ferocious country “gentleman” friend, imagine that Jehovah is not now well pleased to manifest His power extraordinarily.

A question presents itself at the outset–For what are the supernatural manifestations of God given to man in any generation? The most direct answer which occurs to my mind, is given by St. Paul.–“The manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.” 1 Cor. xii. 7. Now how can these manifestations or gifts profit a man? Let us first consider the gift of healing, the one ridiculed and despised in the Conservative.

How can the gift of healing profit a man? Not at all, directly, if he is healthy and sound. But if he were sick of a fever, as the Apostle Peter’s wife’s mother was, then the gift of healing would be very profitable and acceptable. If a man were a leper, as was the man whom Jesus met when he came down from the mountain, where he delivered his famous Sermon; or afflicted with the palsy, like the centurion’s servant; or blind, like the two men whose eyes Jesus touched; or withered in limb, like the man whom Jesus healed on the Sabbath day; or impotent like the man at Bethesda’s pool; or lame from birth, like the man who sat at the temple gate; or afflicted with a running sore, like the woman who touched the hem of the garment of Jesus; then the gift of healing would by no means be despised, but would be prized as a most desirable blessing.

If a man were bitten by a venomous reptile, as was Paul when shipwrecked on Melita, then the realization of the glorious promise of Jesus–that believers should take up serpents, without harm, would surely be coveted earnestly, as one of the “best gifts.”

If anything of a poisonous nature were given in malice to a man, or accidentally partaken of by him, then the promise of Jesus to Gospel believers–“if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them,” would be truly appreciated.

If a man were being imposed upon by a fair-faced professing friend, then “the discerning of spirits” would be a decided blessing.

If a man were in danger from a combination or conspiracy of wicked men, then the gift of prophecy, or of revelation from God, would be of undeniable profit to him.

[224] Neither is the ministration of angels by any means to be despised. The Apostle Peter, when imprisoned by Herod, and he and the other Apostles, when imprisoned by the Sadduces, were liberated through the instrumentality of angels. The Apostle Paul, when bound for Rome, and in danger of shipwreck, was visited in the night by an angel, and informed that the vessel, but no life, would be lost, providing all kept in the ship. These manifestations were clearly profitable to those who received them. And would not similar manifestations be equally profitable now to men in similar circumstances? He who would answer in the negative must think again, if he desires any credit for common sense.

Now in all the above supposed instances, it will be very readily seen how the gifts of God profit men. Surely no one who possesses the least claim to be called a Christian will deny that these gifts and manifestations were enjoyed in ancient times, and were given for the comfort and profit of the recipients. No, probably few will deny this, but men have strange notions as to the continuity of these gifts and manifestations among believers. But is there any reason why these things should not be enjoyed now? Not the slightest. Men are sent into this world that they may become more fully acquainted with evil, and be made more perfect through suffering. But in order that they may be saved, or in other words, in order that they may overcome the evil, instead of being overcome by it, the Almighty assists them by His power and this power is manifested in various ways, some of which I have mentioned. It would naturally be expected that if man were left to himself, to grapple with evil unassisted, he would be altogether overcome by it, and then the designs of His Creator would be frustrated. This idea is idea is as fully borne out by the Scriptures, as it is by reason, and the experience of men. Consequently the gifts and manifestations of God are necessary to aid man’s perfection.

The next thing to be considered is–Is the nature of all men similar? If so, they all need similar assistance to enable them to overcome. As far as observation and experience are concerned, no other conclusion can be come to but that all men are of like passions, though those [225] passions may be variously modified by sectional habits and customs, and differing circumstances. And if all living men are of like passions, analogy would teach us that all men who have lived, who do live, and who may live, were, are, and will be of like passions. Scripture is entirely coincident with analogy on this point. The Apostle Paul informs us that God “hath made of one blood all nations for to dwell on all the face of the earth.” And every child knows that Scripture declares all men the children of one earthly, and one heavenly Father. Then two thousand years separation by time, or two thousand miles separation by space, cannot impair in the least the claim which all men have equally on the assistance of the Almighty. Therefore we cannot conclude otherwise than that all have a naturally equal right to similar blessings from the hands of God.

The question now narrows down to this principal point–As all men are of one family, and are sent here for one purpose, and consequently have naturally equal right to assistance from their one Great Parent, it necessarily follows that if they do not receive similar assistance and blessings from Him, the fault lies either with Him or with them.

As regards the fault lying with the Almighty, it can only do so upon two principles–either He is a changeable being, or He knows, by His far-seeing wisdom, that it will be to men’s advantage if these blessings are withheld.

On the first principle the Bible most unhesitatingly assures us that God does not withhold any blessings from men. The Prophet Malachi informs us that He does not change. Jesus Christ says that God is more willing to give blessings to men than men are to receive them. The Apostle James informs us that with God there is no variableness nor shadow of turning. The Apostle Peter declared, contrary to his early prejudices, that God was no respector of persons, but that in every nation he that feared God, and wrought righteousness, was accepted of Him. On the question of changeable changeableness or partiality, then, doubt may be banished.

As to whether God sees it wisdom to withhold His blessings, it may be answered–undoubtedly He does, independent of the actions of those who desire the [226] blessings, but not independent of the circumstances in which those persons are placed. When we recall to our minds that man was sent here to experience evil as well as good, we must conclude that if the power of God were fully accorded to Him on every occasion, he would have no trial, no experience of evil, and consequently would pass his probationary state here without attaining to that perfection in knowledge which was desirable. The Apostle Paul had an affliction which he called a “thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me.” “For this thing,” says Paul, “I besought the Lord thrice that it might depart from me, and he said unto me, my grace is sufficient for thee; for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” Paul had a correct idea of the reason why his prayer was not answered–“lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations.” The revelations given to him were a blessing, enlightening and comforting his mind, and imparting to him knowledge which he could not otherwise have obtained. The withholding of the answer to his prayer in regard to the removal of the “thorn in the flesh,” was also a blessing, for by reading his history we learn that Paul was as liable as many others to be “exalted above measure,” and then to be overbearing, and imperious. The Lord Jesus, partaking of the nature of man, was exceedingly sorrowful previous to his crucifixion, and he prayed more than once–“O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless not as I will but as thou wilt.” His desire was not granted. Why? Because his Father saw it wisdom that Jesus should suffer, that the great atonement might be made for the sins of mankind. But here a distinction would be made–though God may see it wisdom, in exceptional circumstances, to withhold blessings desired, yet it does not necessarily follow that blessings desired should always be withheld, nor that whole generations of mankind would pass away without receiving any of those manifestations which were so liberally granted in ancient times. If it were so, those men would be borne down by the evils with which they had to cope, instead of overcoming them, and being made perfect by the contact. Considering this, then, it cannot be concluded that the fault is with God, either with regard to His impartiality and [227] unchangeableness, or the exercise of His wisdom, that His gifts and blessings are not experienced among men universally.

When generations of mankind pass away without enjoying the gifts and blessings of God, as did the ancients, the fault must be in man. What is the first cause of failure in obtaining these blessings? Unbelief. Jesus said they should follow the believers. He himself could not do many miracles in his own country, because of the unbelief of the people. The Apostle Paul declares that “without faith it is impossible to please God.” And it was a constant maxim of Jesus and his Apostles, that according to a man’s faith, he should receive. Here, then, we discover the grand cause why the absence of these gifts and blessings constitutes such a marked characteristic of the popular religions of the day–the people do not believe in these gifts and blessings, consequently they never name such things in their supplications to God, and, as may naturally be expected, God does not bestow them, for it is not His custom to cast pearls before swine, nor to give the childrenÕs meat to dogs, although He is full of goodness and compassion.

Many other Scripture reverences in favour of the conclusions I have come to in this brief article might be adduced, but probably sufficient has been written to show to a reflecting mind that there is no solid reason why the gifts and blessings of God should not be enjoyed now as in ancient times, notwithstanding the opinions of “Grand Masters” editors, “gentlemen,” doctors, lawyers, divines, or any other class of men. It betrays a low, infidel, and irreverent spirit when a man sneers at the gifts and blessings of God, whether enjoyed or withheld; and the same spirit is manifested when those who contend for these gifts are derided, much more when they are treated with brutal violence, and taunted for a sign from God. How offensive must such ungodly characters as do this, appear in the pure sight of Jehovah. Verily they have their reward.

In conclusion, I would recommend a study of the following extracts from the Book of Mormon, in which extracts there is more Gospel than many editors or preachers write or speak in the whole course of their life–

[228] “And the Gentiles are lifted up in the pride of their eyes, and have stumbled, because of the greatness of their stumbling block, that they have built up many churches; nevertheless, they put down the power and miracles of God, and preach up unto themselves, their own wisdom, and their own learning, that they may get gain, and grind upon the face of the poor; and there are many churches built up, which cause envyings, and strifes, and malice.”–2 Nephi xi. 14.

“And again, I exhort you, my brethren, that ye deny not the gifts of God, for they are many; and they come from the same God. And there are different ways that these gifts are administered; but it is the same God who worketh all in all; and they are given by the manifestations of the Spirit of God unto men, to profit them. For behold, to one is given by the Spirit of God, that he may teach the word of wisdom; and to another, that he may teach the word of knowledge by the same spirit; and to another, exceeding great faith; and to another, the gifts of healing by the same spirit. And again, to another, that he may work mighty miracles; and again, to another, that he may prophesy concerning all things; and again, to another, the beholding of angels and ministering spirits; and again, to another, all kinds of tongues; and again, to another, the interpretation of languages and of divers kinds of tongues. And all these gifts come by the spirit of Christ; and they come unto every man severally, according as he will. And I would exhort you, my beloved brethren, that ye remember that he is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever, and that all these gifts of which I have spoken, which are spiritual, never will be done away, even as long as the world shall stand, only according to the unbelief of the children of men.

“And now I speak unto all the ends of the earth, that if the day cometh that the power and gifts of God shall be done away among you, it shall be because of unbelief. And wo be unto the children of men, if this be the case; for there shall be none that doeth good among you, no not one. For if there be one among you that doeth good, he shall work by the power and gifts of God. And wo unto them who shall do these things away and die, for they die [229] in their sins, and they cannot be saved in the kingdom of God; and I speak it according to the words of Christ, and I lie not.”–Moroni x. 1,2. (Mill. Star 16:81-85)


Evil Speaking

Editorial, S. W. Richards

Millennial Star, February 18, 1854

The practice of evil speaking has become so prevalent among nearly all grades of society, and so interwoven with every stage of life, that very few escape the guilt consequent upon such a practice. To some, the evil created by those who indulge in this most deterable vice may appear trifling, but it only can to those who have become so habituated to it as not to discern its baneful tendency. Perhaps there is no sin more frequently committed by those, who profess to be Saints, than that of evil-speaking; they seem yet not to have learned the mighty influence that can be wielded by the tongue for the happiness or misery of mankind; they seem not to appreciate that a single word often destroys that confidence which must reign supreme where happiness exists, and often produces more extensive injury than almost any evil act that can be performed; they have not yet learned to watch their words as though each one was an instrument of life or of death–a blessing or a curse, to those who come under its influence.

The law of God is very strict in its requirements upon this point, so much so that no man or woman can be saved who will indulge in such wickedness–we say wickedness, because it is a flagrant violation of the law. The organization of the holy Priesthood provides an officer whose special duty it is to see that there is no evil-speaking practised among the Saints, neither backbiting, nor hardness, which always exists in connexion with the practice. The law of the Holy Priesthood, if strictly enforced, would sever the one guilty of so foul a crime from the fellowship of Saints and when the officers of the kingdom of God officiate in perfectness before the Lord this sin, and all its evil consequences, will perfectly cease.

It should be the study of the Saints, in every position of life, to guard against the evil, especially of occupying a [230] prominent one among the people–one where their every act and word is expected to be a pattern for the people. We have had occasion to observe the importance of this, particularly with Pastors and Presidents who are called upon to succeed one another in their ministerial labours. The principle is readily detected when one Elder succeeds another, disapproves of his predecessor’s general policy, and makes it his first business to demolish the existing policy of conducting affairs, publicly disapproving of them, and establishing new plans of operation after his own peculiar views and inclinations.

When such a course is taken, it is generally accompanied with remarks and expressions calculated to destroy the work and influence of those who have been before, though their exertions may have been great, their labours unceasing, and their motives pure, according to the light and knowledge they possessed, as much so per adventure as any who could succeed them. God is sure to bestow upon all such faithful labourers a just reward. When one Elder is called upon to succeed another it should be his study to guard the interests and influence of that brother, as he would wish to have his own guarded under like circumstances. No man should suppose, a moment, that the policy adopted by another is not a righteous one simply because it differs from that which he would choose. There may be differences of administrations and still all be prompted by the same Lord, as there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. Now if this be true, who can sit in judgment upon his brother, because he has his peculiar mode of operation, and disapprove of it, without coming under condemnation? Men differ in their disposition, temperament, and spirit, and God is the author of that difference; and no one has a right to speak against his brother, because God has thus endowed him, while his desires and efforts are to maintain righteousness in the midst of mankind, and build up the kingdom of God. Although this principle is true, and essential to be observed, it does not interfere in the least with the responsibility which rests upon every one to take proper steps to correct evils wherever they exist, but an [231] individual’s course may not necessarily be productive of evil, because it differs in some respects from another’s.

When a man has learned the truth, he will know that if he takes the liberty to speak against his brother, the same measure will be meted out to him in return, if God be true. A man may do evil, and that action be very limited in its influence, while another may speak of that evil to those who can have no control over it, and produce an almost unlimited amount of injury, both of a public and private nature.

Elders may come out from Zion, and take as much pleasure in speaking, both in public and in private, of the weaknesses of the Saints there, and the faults they have discovered in the authorities–how much they care for “Mormonism,” how often they get drunk, the danger there is in unprotected females going to Salt Lake Valley, and many other equally important facts to be known by the Saints and the world; and pride themselves in being as ready to speak evil as good; but they little think how they appear in the eyes of those who see them thus trampling upon the laws and principles which they profess to advocate. They little think that the least Saint who possesses the Spirit of God knows they are violating the laws of that government which must yet cover the earth, or else they have very little respect for themselves, say nothing about the revelations and requirements of God.

The time is past, that men can claim a relationship with the people of God, and indulge in such practices without being despised; and where Teachers do their duty, such person, whether high or low, will find themselves in danger of being called to an account, and, peradventure, dealt with according to the laws of the Church; while all those who are acquainted with the higher order, and the covenants of the holy Priesthood, will feel a degree of indignation, which they alone are capable of feeling.

No one in the kingdom of God has a right to publish or make known the faults of others, only to those who have the right and power to reprove and chastise the transgressors. Nothing but evil can result from any other course, and to add evil to evil is the work of the wicked one. If a man discovers iniquity in his brother, whom it is his right to counsel and reprove, it is his duty to use his [232] utmost endeavours to reclaim that brother, by himself alone; if he does not succeed, it is then his privilege to communicate the facts in the case of the Teacher, whose right it is, by virtue of his office, to see that there is no iniquity in the Church, and they unitedly may strive to save the wayward; if they both cannot prevail upon the guilty to turn from his transgressions, then he may be brought before the Church, and be lawfully dealt with. Until these steps are taken, no one has a right to publish and declaim against the wickedness of a brother. This is a degree of protection from exposure, which God has wisely provided for all who are in His Kingdom, that they may have an opportunity of correcting their faults before they have an evil tendency upon others. When a man discovers iniquity or waywardness in one whom he has no power to call to an account, it is his privilege to make it known to one who has jurisdiction in the case, then his skirts are clear, and the sin rests with those who have power to put it away, and by whom an atonement must be made that shall deliver them from the justice of the law. Saints must observe these principles in all their intercourse one with another, or they can never inherit eternal lives.

Many changes have been made, of late, and many travelling Elders are and will be called to fill the places of those who are emigrating; and we would say to all such bless your predecessors, by maintaining their influence among the people, and never try to build up yourselves upon the ruin of others. If the Lord has blessed those who have been before you, and given them the hearts of the people, whereby they have had power to do good, do not be jealous, and fearful that the Lord will not give you the hearts of the people also. If you seek the salvation of the people, and desire with all your hearts to do them good, the Lord will give you all that you are worthy of, and all that you can control to His glory. If the Lord does not give you the hearts of the Saints, because you are unworthy of them, you will try in vain to get them, and be disgraced, if not damned, in the attempt to obtain them. No man need be jealous of his authority, influence, or power. If he has any that is worth possessing he has received it from God, and it will abide with him as long as he is worthy of it; but if he will not honour it, it will depart from him, and [233] he will publish his own folly by manifesting a spirit of jealousy for that which he feels is forsaking him. That man who appreciates his blessings as coming from his God, and feels to acknowledge His hand in all things, will ever be found in wisdom’s paths, and they are peace. Let all evil-speaking cease from among the Saints; they corrupt good manners and morals, and destroy good feelings. Be mindful of each other’s happiness, love one another, and seek the salvation of all; then shall you appear as saviours upon Mount Zion, to enjoy the rich reward of the redeemed, and become the ministers of our God forever! (Mill. Star 16:104-106)


The Relations of the Sexes

Extracted from Burnap’s Lectures to Young Men

Millennial Star, February 18, 1854

The subject of the present lecture is so deeply important, and demands so much wisdom and discretion in its treatment, that I approach it with the greatest diffidence. I would gladly have passed it over altogether, if I could have done so with any justice to the general topics I have undertaken to treat. That subject is the relations of the sexes, the duties and the happiness which spring out of them, and the vices, the crimes, and the unutterable misery to which they may give rise. As the relation between the sexes is the most fundamental and important that we sustain, and the trials and temptations to which it leads assail human nature in its weakest point, so ought it to be most thoroughly comprehended in all its bearings, that the young man, in addition to the promptings and restraints of religious principles, may have in full view the tremendous responsibilities upon which he acts in all his intercourse with the other sex.

God has legislated upon this subject in a manner more minute and emphatic than, perhaps, on any other whatever. All the statute books of human invention, and even the Bible itself, give but an imperfect sketch of the actual law–the rewards and punishments which God has annexed to faithfulness or unfaithfulness to the mutual obligations which the sexes owe to each other. This great law is clearly written in the constitution and condition of [234] man, in his affections, his wants, his moral and religious nature.

Next to the wonders of our individual being, the marvellous organization of the body, and the still more marvellous faculties of the mind, comes the difference of sexes. On this difference, leading to marriage, the whole fabric of society rests. The family is the primary element from which all society proceeds. As the fountain is pure, so will be the streams which issue from it. Everything in society points backwards and forwards to marriage as the most sacred of relations, and this very fact, antecedent to all experience upon the subject, would lead us to consider any deviation from the divine institute, the most criminal of acts, and the most widely pernicious in its consequences. * * *

The union of two true hearts is a scene which art decorates with the most splendid and imposing works of her hands–innocent curiosity flocks to it as a marvel and a show–the moral sentiments of mankind sanction it–religion blesses it–Christ himself once hallowed it with his presence, and God adds to it the choicest smiles of his providence.

With those who are thus happily united, life starts afresh under new and happier auspices. Existence seems more full and rich now it is shared with another with whom sympathy is complete, and in whom confidence is unbounded. New and more generous motives of action are substituted in the place of that exclusive reference to self, into which a single life is so apt to contract. Time passes unheeded and unregretted by, as lapse of duration has no reference to the soul, or to its best affections. Prosperity comes and is doubly welcome, because its joyousness is reflected from the sympathy of another. Adversity comes, and its sharpness is mitigated by the mutual support which faithful hearts are able to impart to each other. As they advance in life, and take a less vivid interest in its affairs, a new generation comes forward under the most propitious auspices. Their education is likely to be cared for, their morals watched over, and the example they witness at home train them up to all that is good. And then, as the parents decline in years, they reap the reward of their fidelity in the affection, the tenderness, and [235] assiduity of their children. Decay and death shall seem to them less terrible as their aged steps shall be supported, and their dying eyes closed, by the hands of filial affection.

Such is the career and such are the rewards of honourable love, and that connexion of the sexes which is hallowed by the laws of God and man. It is no fiction–no picture of the imagination: it is often witnessed in life. None who hear me will need to go far among their acquaintance to find an original. Most beautifully was all this description realized, and more than realized, in the life, lately published to the world, of Walter Scott, the transcendent genius, the most excellent man. No one can read his life, and compare it with his wonderful productions, without being impressed with the conviction, that he owed much of that healthful, happy, and buoyant tone of mind, and those cheerful views of life which characterize his enchanting tales, to the benign influence shed over his whole nature by those conjugal affections, so tender and so true, which blessed his matrimonial connexion.

Such are the blessings which, in the order of Providence, attend those who observe the great moral laws which govern the relation of the sexes to each other.

It is now my duty to reverse the picture, and exhibit the degradation, the misery, and the ruin which follow and overtake the violation of those laws–the severe retribution which, even in this life, punishes the reckless libertine. The first symptom which is exhibited of this fatal declension from all good, is a fondness for low company. But in order that low company should be sought and delighted in, there must have been committed the original sin of a voluntary defilement of the thoughts and imagination.

There is a profane and immodest curiosity, a prying into the animal economy, that seeks its gratification in obscene books or impure descriptions, which is itself polluting and defiling to the soul. And here let me say to every young person, if there be any salvation from this vortex of perdition, the stand is to be made in the heart, the thoughts, the fountain of all action. But if the stand be not made, the next stage toward ruin is delight in the [236] society of the coarse, the obscene, and licentious in conversation. By association with such, the natural modesty of youth becomes gradually soiled, the sacred charm of moral association, which invests woman to an unsophisticated mind with an inviolable sacredness, is slowly dispelled. The ideas of protection and respect, which an honourable mind connects with the weaker and dependent sex, and those higher and better ties which ought to bind them to the other, are lost sight of, and the soul gradually descends so low as to consider them merely as the victims and the instruments of a base, brutal sensuality.

When the train is thus laid, nothing is now wanting but opportunity to complete that moral prostration for which the mind is so well prepared. Under guidance of some of the emissaries of hell, the young man crosses the threshold of that house whose doors are the passage-way to moral death, and his fate is sealed. If there were any sympathies in nature, such as are fabled to have spoken out when man committed the first sin, at that fatal moment there would be heard a deep and universal groan.

From that hour what a difference in the feelings, the conditions, and the prospects of a young man? He himself is not aware of a hundredth part of the change and degradation which has taken place within him. He, perhaps under the excitement of new scenes and the intoxication of animal pleasure, may revel for a while in a kind of bewilderment, and set all evil consequences at defiance. But it is all madness and delusion. A most awful change has taken place in himself. The ingenuous confidence of innocence is lost. He cannot any longer approach with bounding step and buoyant heart the sacred precincts of home. The presence of father and mother, hitherto full of peace, comfort, and encouragement, seems polluted and insulted by his intrusion. In all his communications with them, hitherto so frank and confiding, there is something now kept back, which clouds his intercourse with them with constraint and disquiet. In the family circle, in the place of that open, ingenuous, cheerful, sportive demeanour, which is native to innocence and pure thoughts, there come a sullenness, reserve, and irritability, which begin to isolate him from [237] those affections which used to be his solace and delight. The society of the virtuous and refined of the other sex gradually loses its charm. In their presence he feels himself rebuked, awkward, and ill at ease. Every pure and elevated sentiment is to him a reproof–every act of confidence a reproach. Quite as uneasy does he find himself in his new position in the word. The shame of his fall is no secret, and it is in the hands of those who are restrained by no principle of honour or delicacy from its promulgation, and who would at any moment make it known to serve any purpose of cupidity or revenge. Besides, if the secret be kept, he cannot know that it is; and a guilty conscience, ever apprehensive, and stimulating the imagination to the greatest extravagances, leads him to read detection and scorn in every eye. The very street is no longer the same. Nowhere does he feel safe from betrayal and disgrace. The terrible penalty of fear and anticipated mortification is never long absent from his mind, and, O! how much do even these overbalance any possible gratification which can be derived from the society of the abandoned and the vile!

It is astonishing what a wreck habits of licentiousness make of all that is good, even in respects which we should not at first anticipate. It not only prostrates principle, but it undermines the habits of industry and application to business. The predisposition to form a virtuous connexion for life, and even the grosser passion, which, for wise reasons, God has made strong in a pure and virtuous mind, operate as a stimulus to endeavour, a motive to industry, probity, and perseverance. But the desecration of a sacred affection, the gratification of animal appetite, without those responsibilities which God intended should accompany it, deranges the whole course of nature, and breaks up one of heaven’s wisest and most beneficent arrangements. The great purpose of marriage and domestic happiness is rendered indifferent, and, of course, in the same proportion, those habits of industry, probity, and economy, which are necessary to prepare for it. Instead of long and honourable plans for the future, which are the great props and buttresses of character, the young man becomes remiss and unstable. His visions of the honourable citizen, husband, father, are gradually [238] abandoned, together with that course of noble exertion which belongs to such anticipations; and in their place is substituted the mean and selfish man of pleasure, contented for a few years to expend the avails of his industry upon the mere gratification of the basest of passions.

(Part 2) Another evil, which the incipient sensualist did not anticipate, soon overtakes him–an utter repugnance to everything of a religious nature. Nothing so unhallows and pollutes the soul and all its thoughts as this vice. It stops the breath of prayer, closes the pages of divine revelation, makes the Sabbath irksome, and renders public worship a penance instead of an enjoyment. It follows that there can be scarcely a worse sign than to see a young man fall off from religious observances. It is almost certain that sin lieth at the door.

But his repugnance to religion does not often stop at neglect. It usually goes on to a secret enmity and scorn, thence to profane jests and open unbelief. The loss of the religious principle in man, slight as it may be in some, is an awful and fatal loss. When it is gone, there is no longer any safety: a man becomes his own greatest enemy. It is plainly the conservative principle within him, like the compass to the ship in the midst of the ocean. Throw that overboard, and he is lost. He drifts on and on, without any other certainty than that of final shipwreck.

Habits of vicious indulgence are never stationary; and this especially, being accompanied with the extinction of the religious principle, rapidly prostrates in a man all that is good. Association with the vile, and that infatuation which attends it, induce habits of prodigality which must be supplied, honestly if it may be, but dishonestly if it must. When he has spent everything of his own, he appropriates whatever he can lay his hands on, come from whence it may. When he has advanced to this point of his career, general vagabondism is not far off, and the blighted young man either sinks into the grave, becomes the tenant of the penitentiary, or drags out a miserable existence in the most degrading employments.

Another, whose standing in society is more elevated, and whose means of dissipation are not so soon [239] exhausted, is preserved only for the commission of worse crimes, and the endurance of a more signal retribution. Sensuality has so polluted his imagination, that he can think of nothing else. Beauty, ignorance, and dependence no sooner catch his eye than the imagination is fired, and, with black and guileful heart, he busies himself with schemes of seduction and ruin. Where, in the catalogue of depravity, shall we place such a miscreant as this? The soul of the murderer, who stabs in hot blood, is white when compared to his. He despatches his victim at once, and with little suffering, and perhaps with no preconceived malice. But here is a man who, without provocation will plot for weeks and months the murder of body and soul, the shame of whole families, and the abiding sorrow of the most virtuous affections. The unfeeling wretch is perfectly aware of what he is doing at every step. He knows the fate of his fictim, for he has seen hundreds of these deluded creatures cast out from all the endearments of natural affection, from the peace and protection of home, abandoned to the insults of the brutal and the drunken, the prey of remorse, of want, of disease, and premature decay. And yet, in full sight of all this, the seducer proceeds deliberately, step by step, by arts the most mean, by flattery the most contemptible, by perjury the most profligate.

What renders this sin more deep and damning, is the fact, that seduction is not often accomplished without a base and treacherous use of the holiest of affections, that which was originally intended to unite the sexes for life. Man is led into unlawful connexions by lust, woman only by love. The greater freedom, or more lax morality of the male sex, permits them to associate the idea of the gratification of animal passion with looser ties–the native delicacy of the female mind only with the permanent and virtuous relation of marriage. The seducer, therefore, does not hesitate to excite this virtuous passion; he makes his advances under the traitorous mask of honourable love. And where woman once gives her heart, her unlimited confidence goes with it: she would as soon distrust her Maker, as believe that the idol she has enthroned in her affections would deceive, betray, and abandon her. On the one side, then, all is devoted and [240] sincere attachment–on the other, the most cold-blooded dastardly selfishness and treachery. The injured creature awakens to her situation, and finds herself ruined, heart-broken, forsaken; and she shrinks into the companion-ship of the loathsome and the vile.

Is there one feeling of truth, honour, and humanity, that does not rise up within you at the fiendishness of such conduct? And yet there are men, who deem themselves men of honour, and claim a reception into the society of the pure and the virtuous, who have no scruples to make seduction, I had almost said, the business of their lives. It is in this way, by this system of moral murder, that the number of those outcasts of society is kept up, who themselves, once corrupted, become the source of corruption to the whole community. And is it possible that any human being can treat this subject lightly, and make the fall and ruin of the young and the innocent the subject of jest and ridicule? The time is not far distant, I believe, when the moral feeling of the community will rise in its might, and crush the perpetrators of this stupendous wrong.

But whatever may be thought of this crime among men, there is an awful vengeance hanging over it in the providence of God. In the breast of the seducer, however smooth his brow, courageous his mien, or careless his demeanour, there are already lighted the fires of hell. there are certain moral, psychological, and physiological causes, which, sooner or later, avenge the cause of the ruined and betrayed in a manner most fearful to contemplate. No man can commit this crime without being fully aware of its turpitude in the sight of God and man. No man who is not a brute, can prevent something like real attachment from weaving itself into the endearments of even a base and treacherous connexion with the beautiful, the innocent, the devoted. The highest pleasures thus become associated in the mind with the deepest guilt, and to all time, therefore, this crime takes not the place of an ordinary transaction, to be soon consigned to oblivion, but stands out in bold and prominent relief, always to catch the eye in the retrospect of the past. The whole thing, by the violence of passion, and the intense consciousness of guilt, is burnt into the [241] soul, as it were, with letters of fire, and, as far as we can see, it remains there painfully legible forever. The seducer is haunted by it to the day of his death. The thought will steal over him wherever he may be–what may now be the condition that injured, ruined whom he once took to his brutal and polluting embraces? Imagination will paint her reduced to the last extremity of wretchedness and woe, surrounded by the degraded and abandoned, the sunny smile of innocence and youth supplanted by the worn and haggard look of despair. This image will float before his mind in broad day–in health and prosperity; but let trouble or disease shatter his nerves, or wreck his constitution, and he can think of nothing else; he is racked by perpetual remorse. He cannot close his eyes in slumber before his mental vision is invaded by the apparitions of his victims, reproaching him with all the tones and looks of anguish, for their betrayal and ruin. These scourges of guilt, which, from the laws of nature I have mentioned, recoil upon the base seducer, human nature cannot long endure, and the resort to drown memory and reflection is almost universally to intoxication. In nine cases out of ten, libertinism ends in habitual drunkenness. When you see a young man giving himself up to licentious courses–though then he may have no inclination to strong drink–you may be morally sure that if you meet the same person five or ten years afterwards, his breath will reek of the strongest potations of the still-house, and his whole constitution seem eaten out by their fiery and fatal poison.

It is a singular fact that in a large proportion of the confessions of condemned criminals, you will find, in the catalogue of crimes which brought them to the gallows, that seduction was one; and the vile associations to which it led, were the principal causes of a final and total abandonment to vicious courses.

Another course which this vice sometimes takes among the more opulent classes, puts on for a while a less atrocious aspect, but finally terminates in results even more unhappy and disastrous to society. It is that of a temporary connexion, involving support on the one hand and ostensible fidelity on the other. The young man may flatter himself that such a course of conduct may screen [242] him from the more immediate mischiefs of promiscuous libertinism. But he is only led into a more fatal snare, to be overtaken by a more tremendous retribution. The consciousness of this state of things generally drives a man from virtuous society, or its publicity makes his intercourse with it uncomfortable and embarrassing. His inclination to honourable marriage is sapped and destroyed, and with it, generally, the opportunity of a happy choice.

In the meantime, he finds himself a husband without any of the respectability, the security, and the happiness of one, and the father of nameless heirs of ignominy and shame. What earthly condition can be more miserable than this? How could a man, even if he went deliberately about it, involve himself more inextricably in disgrace, remorse, and wretchedness, for the rest of his life? How must that man feel, who is conscious that his own offsprings are wandering about the earth, the outcasts of society and the scorn of the world? The most affecting thing, I think, that I have ever met with in my life, was a letter which I once found in looking over the papers of a deceased person, written by an illegitimate son to his father, whom he had never seen, and who, though surrounded by wealth, never made the least provision for his support or education, or even recognized his existence. He seemed to be a young man of good talents, and the most delicate sensibility, but crushed and blighted by the consciousness of his dishonourable birth. His mother, many years before, had abandoned him for a life of infamy, and he was left, without friend or protector,, to drag out a miserable existence, and to suffer, the innocent for the guilty, the stern punishment of his parentsÕ sins. The touching tones of sorrow and despair, with which he appealed to the heart of a father, filled me for a time with the profoundest melancholy, and led me to reflect on the enormous guilt of a libertine with a deeper horror than I had ever felt before.

On the whole, the crimes of libertinism take a deeper hold on the conscience than any other, except that of murder. I have sat by the side of many a death-bed, and marked the sins which wring the departing soul with the deepest pang; and I can sincerely say, that there is no sin [243] which so clings to the conscience, which so casts doubt on the possibility of the Divine mercy, which throws such gloomy fears on the unknown futurity the trembling soul is about to enter, as the criminal indulgence of the baser passions.

I have cited the example of an eminent literary man, as exhibiting the happy influence of virtuous love. There is another no less distinguished, who has afforded as impressive a warning to the world of the wretchedness which accompanies libertinism. Much of the misanthropy, the bitterness, the blasphemy, and despair, which pollute the otherwise exquisite poetry of Byron, is to be traced, I have not the least doubt, to the subtle poison of a licentious life. When this sacred tie, which is intended to bind us more closely than any other to our species, has been vitiated, it cannot fail to destroy the harmony of feeling with mankind which is so necessary to mental peace and satisfaction. His case, too, is a demonstration of a truth which ought to be impressed on the mind of every young man–that marriage is not a cure for the moral disorders introduced by licentiousness. There is more probability that, instead of being cured, they will utterly destroy the happiness of that connexion. That freshness and singleness of affection, which alone can meet and satisfy the devotedness of woman’s heart, can never be found in the breast of a libertine. There was nothing casual or accidental in the relation which Byron found himself with regard to his wife soon after their marriage. It is the natural condition of a libertine in the state of marriage. In his case it became known, merely because he was a public character. The results in all cases are more or less the same. Unhappiness in this relation is enough to blast the prospects of life, and send a man forth to wander upon the face of the earth. His feverish restlessness, his gloomy scepticism, his heartless contempt for his species, were the natural consequences the life he led. And the unblushing confession, that he wrote in the latter part of his life, on the inspiration of gin, only confirms the observation I have already made, that the latter stages of the rake’s progress are passed under the maddening influence of intoxication.

[244] Such are some of the tremendous penalties which, in the order of nature and Providence, hang over and avenge the licentious intercourse of the sexes. They are as sure to follow as day to follow night, and nothing but a miracle on the part of God, changing the courses of causes and effects, could avert them. There is, then, but one way for the young man to act; in that alone lies his salvation–to shun, as a pestilence, the society of all who are in the habitual practice of this vice, or whose conversation is loose, or who have a prevailing taste for indecency of any kind whatever. There is no other way but to repress that immodest curiosity which would find its gratification in the perusal of indecent books, to restrain the lawless imagination which is stimulated by licentious songs and conversation. Let him remember, that it is comparatively easy to resist the beginnings of evil–that self-government belongs mainly to the thoughts. While they are kept pure, there is safety; but evil, once admitted here, is like a kindling fire, which spreads and rages till everything is involved in conflagration.

Above all, let no enticement or persuasion ever induce you to approach the threshold of those haunts of perdition. Let the degradation, the cruelties, the blasphemies, the riots, the filthiness of those sinks of pollution, be as repugnant to your curiosity as the awful mysteries of the prison-house of the damned. (Mill. Star 16:97-99, 118-121)

[Editorial note: The extracts from Burnap’s Lectures contain many things which the Saints, the young especially, will do well to study. Wisdom should peculiarly characterize their conduct in the most important relations of life. (p. 122)]


Who Are These That Fly as a Cloud?

Editorial, S. W. Richards

Millennial Star, February 25, 1854

Once more the annual spectacle of the flight of thousands of the Lord’s people is presented to the astonished nations. As doves to their windows are the Saints flocking to the strongholds of Zion in the tops of the mountains, to be organized on heavenly principles, [245] and to escape the fearful judgments which are decreed in these latter days.

Two motives combine to urge the Saints to obey the great command of the gathering, without unnecessary delay. The first and foremost is that only by the gathering of the righteous in one can righteousness and truth be permanently established on the earth. The next is that the Almighty is about to come out from His hiding-place and punish the world for its iniquity, and no guarantee from this punishment is given except by gathering from amongst the wicked nations, as the voice from heaven to the Patmos exile commanded–“Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.”

For upwards of twenty years has the commandment of the gathering been sounded in the ears of the world, and thousands, through the love of the truth, have forsaken the land of their birth, and the home of their childhood, to go to a land they knew not. Blessed are such, if they continue faithful. Their gathering shall be handed down to their posterity as a movement of the first importance to their salvation, and the salvation of their generations before and after them. The gathering of Abraham, and the gathering of the children of Israel under Moses, are both notable events in sacred history, but they will pass into comparative oblivion when contrasted with the gathering in these latter days. Who can tell the vast influence which the shiploads of Saints that yearly take their departure from Liverpool may have upon the destiny of the world! Insignificant as their actions and fanatical as their purpose may appear in the eyes of the great and honourable men of the day, it is true, beyond the shadow of doubt, that this insignificance will be magnified to the highest import, and this fanaticism will appear soundest wisdom, to a generation not far distant from the present. Will not children then point with laudable pride and enthusiasm to the gathering of their forefathers from the abominations of Babylon to the purity of Zion? Most assuredly children will, and much more so when the parents gathered through the love of the truth alone.

But undoubtedly some will gather partly to avoid the judgments of an offended God. Such do well, but those who [246] gather solely from a love of the truth, will do much better. The judgments of God will be fearful enough, for they will be poured out with fury, and in a day of vengeance, which He has long kept in His heart. He has for a long time refrained Himself while injured innocence has been crying with tears of blood for to be avenged, but in these latter days will He make inquisition, and woe to those who incur His just displeasure, for He will not spare. The low rumbling sounds of almost universal war are heard with a fearful distinctness beneath the surface of the political world. And the wisest worldling knows not how speedily the volcano may burst forth, how terrible may be the erruption, or how awful and extensive may be the desolation. One thing seems clear–that this year’s emigration will safely quit Europe’s shores. How much longer destruction may be delayed remains to be seen, but come when or how it will, it will only forward the work of God. Meantime let those who have set their faces toward Zion look not back, lest sudden destruction come upon them. “Remember Lot’s wife.” (Mill. Star 16:121-122)

* * * * *

* * *


Leave a Reply