CR April 1898
THE SIXTY-EIGHTH ANNUAL CONFERENCE OF THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS
First Day-Morning Session
First Day-Morning Session
The Sixty-eighth annual Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints convened in the Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, at 10 a. m. on Wednesday, April 6th, 1898, President Wilford Woodruff presiding.
Of the general authorities present on the stand there were of the First Presidency Wilford Woodruff, George Q. Cannon and Joseph F. Smith; of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles Lorenzo Snow, Franklin D. Richards, Brigham Young, Francis M. Lyman, John Henry Smith, George Teasdale, Heber J. Grant, John W. Taylor, Marriner W. Merrill, Matthias F. Cowley and Abraham Owen Woodruff; Patriarch John Smith; of the First Seven Presidents of Seventies Seymour B. Young, C. D. Fjelstead, B. H. Roberts, George Reynolds and Jonathan G. Kimball; of the Presiding Bishopric William B. Preston, Robert T. Burton and John R. Winder.
Conference was called to order by President George Q. Cannon.
The choir and congregation sang the hymn which begins:
How firm a foundation, ye Saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in His excellent word.
Opening prayer by Elder John Nicholson.
All hail the glorious day,
By Prophets long foretold,
When with harmonious lay,
The sheep of Israel’s fold
On Zion’s hill his praise proclaim,
And shout Hosanna to His name,
was sung by the choir.
President Wilford Woodruff
President Wilford Woodruff
I feel very thankful to have the privilege of meeting with so many of the Latter-day Saints in this, our Sixty-eighth Annual Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I had my fears that I would not be able to attend this Conference at all, as I have been quite unwell the last month; but the last day or two I have been blessed with better health. It is a great satisfaction to me to have this privilege. I am satisfied myself that there are many thousands in the spirit world, including the Prophet Joseph Smith and other leaders of this Church, who are quite as deeply interested in this Conference and our work today as we possibly can be ourselves. I hope, while we are together, that we may enjoy the Spirit of God; that our minds may be opened, and our teachings and instructions be led in that channel which shall be unto the edification of the Saints and beneficial to us.
The signs of the times show that the Lord has not forgotten His promises, made through the inspiration of Prophets and Apostles in generations that are past and gone. There has been a great change in the world with regard to “Mormonism” the last year of our lives, as shown in the increase of the work and of the labors of the Elders of Israel among all the nations where they have been called to travel. I hope and pray that we may be in a condition to comprehend our duties today and what is lying before us, that the purposes of God concerning us as Latter-day Saints may be carried out. I trust that the Spirit of God may be with not only those who speak and teach during this Conference, but with those also who sit and hear. My prayer to God is that His blessing may be over us, that our minds may be open to comprehend our duties, our blessings, and those things which are required at our hands; that we may be true and faithful in our labors while we dwell in the flesh, so that when we get through we may be satisfied with our labors here, and b justified when we are called to give an account of the deeds done in the body. I say, God bless you. I pray for His Holy Spirit to rest upon us as the Saints of God, and upon those who may address us; which is my desire in the name of Jesus. Amen.
President George Q. Cannon
President George Q. Cannon
Dawning of a brighter day-Predictions in relation to the work of God-Guided by the Spirit of prophecy-Trials and deliverances, past, present and prospective-The missionary department-Advisability of using women as missionaries.
It is gratifying this morning to see so large an assemblage in this building, at the commencement of our Conference, and it is to be hoped that the interest that is manifested today by those who are present will be maintained during the Conference, that through that interest we may obtain a goodly decree of the Spirit of God, and may all feel, when this Conference closes, that it has been the best Conference we ever attended. This is the usual feeling which those who attend the Conferences experience. At each Conference the blessings of God that are received appear to be greater than ever before, and of course this feeling is produced by the interest that each one has in attending the meetings and in listening to the instructions and drinking into the spirit of the Conference. It is most gratifying to all of us to see president Woodruff and to hear his voice. As he has said, he scarcely expected a few days ago to be able to attend this Conference, suffering as he did from a very severe attack of cold. But he is here with us, and it is a cause of great satisfaction and pleasure to all to see him and to hear his voice, even if it is only for a brief period.
As President Woodruff has said, the progress of the work is very gratifying. It is an important period in which we are living. A great change has taken place in relation to this work and its bearing upon the nations. No doubt the greater portion of this congregation will remember the promises that were made by the servant of God during the dedication of the Salt Lake Temple five years ago. Predictions were made then that seemed unlikely to be fulfilled, looking at affairs as men naturally look at them. But not a word was said concerning the progress of this work and the favor that it would find from that time forward that has not been literally fulfilled.
As I have said, a great change has taken place in relation to the work of the Lord. It occupies a different position, in many respects, to that which it has ever occupied before. It was a cause of consolation to the Saints, in the dark hours that we witnessed some ten or twelve years ago, to hear the Elders predict that a better day was about to dawn upon the people, and that we should emerge from the trials and difficulties and sorrows of those days with greater influence and more power, more respected as a people than we ever had been. It seemed highly improbable that those predictions would be fulfilled, because the bitterness entertained toward the Latter-day Saints and their religion was so widespread and deep-seated. But those predictions have been fulfilled.
We have often been surrounded by very difficult circumstances, and there have been many times in our history when it seemed as though this work of God would be overthrown and all his purposes brought to naught. Those who have fought against this work have indulged in those anticipations. The measures which they undertook, and which they endeavored to carry out, had for their object the destruction of this organization and the breaking up of this people. They supposed these measures sufficient to accomplish the ends they had in view. If they had not felt sure of this, they would, without doubt, have tried other plans.
That which has sustained the Latter-day Saints during their times of trial has been the spirit of prophecy. The Lord has given to His Elders the spirit of prophecy. In the midst of the most terrible trials, when the people were broken up, driven out from their homes and possessions, in a state of utter destitution, without food, without proper clothing, without shelter, homeless wanderers, scattered by the ruthless hand of violence in those dark hours the Lord gave unto His servants the spirit of prophecy. It rested upon them in power, and they predicted to the people that a better day would dawn upon them, and they would emerge from their trials stronger and better, more firmly rooted in the faith which the Lord had revealed to them, than they were before, more than once in the history of the Latter-day Saints have mobs driven them from their homes the places the Lord had designated as places of gathering; and they were a scattered people, broken up, and without an abiding place. But under the inspiration of the Almighty, through the spirit of prophecy that He gave to His servants, and to the people themselves, they were drawn together and held by bonds that were invisible to human eyes. And though at times they were widely separated, they were drawn together to the new gathering place, which under the inspiration of the Almighty through His servants, and in which they themselves also shared, they knew to be the place for them once more to assemble. How numerous soever the temptations all around them to induce them to desert the cause of God, to leave a people who were so persecuted and who had to endure such trials, these invisible bonds of which I speak drew them together and prompted them to again attempt to build up cities and temples, where they could worship the Almighty according to the commandments which He had given unto them.
It is truly marvelous to look back upon the history of the Latter-day Saints; to see the power that had been manifested in holding them together as they have been. As I have said, those who framed plans against them, supposed they could not fail in destroying the organization of the Church and separating the people in such a way that they would never again be united. But the people did gather together again. It was the power of God that did this. It was the spirit of prophecy that rested upon the servants of God, which encouraged the people, which told them that the Lord had revealed and established His Church on the earth, and that there was neither power on earth nor in hell that could destroy it, or that could thwart His purposes, as predicted by the mouths of His holy prophets. As in the past, so it has been of late years. That same spirit has rested upon the people. And there is this grand peculiarity connected with this work; it has not been those men alone who have been chosen by the Lord to lead who have had this spirit. They have not prophesied without a witness on the part of the faithful people themselves that that which they said was the truth and from the Almighty, For in the hearts of all the Latter-day Saints there has been a responsive echo to the words of hope, cheer and comfort and prophesy that have been given by those upon whom the spirit of prophecy has rested. The people have felt the spirit, they have been cheered and sustained by it. We have seen this so often that we know that that which the Lord has spoken concerning His work will be fulfilled.
It is astonishing, when we reflect upon it, what has been done in this respect. We have seen people driven out from their homes in utter destitution, crossing the plains, with improvised wagons, made in the rudest manner, out of the greenest material, with cows, or oxen, or ponies, or anything that could be hitched up to draw them; a few personal effects thrown into the wagon, with a small amount of food, many of the men, and the women, too, almost barefooted, and the children in the same condition all inspired by one spirit, and that the Spirit of God. There was nothing in their circumstances, that could be seen by the natural eye to cheer or to sustain them. But they were full of hope, buoyant in their feelings, traveling with as much confidence and certainty as though they knew every step they had to take and that there was a good place ahead of them which they would reach and in the pleasures of which they could partake. We have seen this, I say, and it has been an astonishing illustration of what God can do for a people; of how He can sustain them, and inspire them to do the work that He requires at their hands.
When the Saints were in Iowa (then a territory), traveling through, and afterwards at Winter Quarters, the women, in many instances, took their feather beds, and sent them down to Missouri to sell, in order to get a little provision. All sorts of expedients were resorted to in order to get a little food. There was Missouri on the left, inviting the people a good land, food in plenty, a land where they could live with comparative ease. But did the Saints swerve? Did they, during the dreadful days of Winter Quarters, think they must desert that place where so many died through exposure and the want of suitable food, and go where they could get some of the comforts and conveniences of life? Were such thoughts in the hearts of the people? No; no such feeling was manifested. If any deserted then, they were so few as not to be remembered. The people had a mission. Each man, woman and child (that was old enough) felt that God had entrusted to him and to her a mission; and with unswerving integrity, with unfaltering courage, they maintained their foothold there until the time when they could start further west.
It was that same spirit and intensity of devotion that inspired them in coming to this land. And what was it that kept the people here? What influence was there operating upon them? Was there anything inviting in this land? To look at it now, and to imagine that this was its condition when the brethren and sisters came here in the first place, you would say, “this is an inviting country, a delightful place to stop.” But no such sight as we now witness was beheld by them. Everything was forbidding. It looked as though the people might starve to death; and after the crickets came it certainly looked for a while as though they would starve to death. Did the Latter-day Saints falter then? No, they did not. What was it that sustained them? It was this same spirit of prophecy that I have alluded to the Spirit of God, which is the Spirit of prophecy, the Elders testified that this was the place which God had chosen, and which He had appointed as a place of gathering for His Saints; and they themselves had the same testimony, the same spirit. A peculiar love sprung up in the hearts of the people for this land, even in those days. There was something most attractive about its mountains and valleys and these clear streams of water that flowed from the mountains. One thing that added to its charm was, it was a land of liberty, a land of freedom, a land where mobs could not come and attack us, as they had done in the past; a place where the families of the Saints, and the leading men among them, could go to bed in peace and quietness, undisturbed by the fear that they would be attacked during the night. This brought a strange and delightful feeling of relief. If they only had bread to eat, or sufficient to sustain life; if they had only water to drink, I believe that the great bulk of the people with scarcely an exception, I may say would have been content to remain here even under those circumstances. The idea of having fruit such as we now have, and in such abundance, was scarcely anticipated. If anticipated at all, it was by but very few, because the seeds that were sown and the little trees that grew up were frozen down the first two or three years. But there was a contented and a happy people here. They went to bed with their doors unlocked. There was no fear among them. They had been relieved from a terrible fear. Those who came under those circumstances could recall the nights and the hours they had spent watching and fearing for a mob to come upon them to drive them out of their homes, to burn their houses, perhaps to inflict upon them personal violence. They remembered, too, that not one of their leading men could go to sleep in his house without having a guard to watch him. The relief from that condition of affairs was such as to bring happiness in and of itself. But I say again, it was the spirit of prophecy that rested upon the Elders and upon the people that sustained them. God revealed by His Holy Spirit the future that awaited the people. The people knew, as they knew that they lived, that this work was bound to triumph, that it was bound to be successful, that those who clung to it would be successful with it, and that there was a great and glorious triumph awaiting them, not only in this life, but in the realms of bliss in the life to come.
It has been that same spirit that has rested down of late years upon the people. They have been comforted and sustained by the Spirit of God and the predictions of the servants of God. It is a wonderful blessing, my brethren and sisters. It is well for us to think of it today as the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; think that we are in this happy condition; that the heavens are in communication with us, because it is from heaven that we receive these blessings that are so delightful and that have such an effect upon us and upon our movements. It is a blessed thing to think that the heavens are with us in this; that we are guided by the revelations of the Lord Jesus; that the gift of prophecy has been restored in our day, and has been received and enjoyed by men. Not a prediction has been uttered concerning this work, so far as the work itself is concerned, that has not been fulfilled. Not a hope has been inspired, not an encouragement has been given to the Latter-day Saints by the prophets of God, that has not up to the present hour been abundantly fulfilled, as far as we have gone. Much yet remains to be fulfilled. It would be impossible for the human mind to conceive of that which remains; but we see the fulfilment of the predictions as we progress day by day. They are fulfilled in our sight, when our eyes are open to perceive them. Therefore, our hearts ought to be filled with gladness and exceeding thanksgiving to the Lord our God that we are in this condition; that the Lord has not forgotten us; that He has not closed His ears against us, nor His mouth, so that He cannot speak to us; that He has not turned His face away from us; but that He smiles upon us, that He gives unto us the comforting, cheering and enlightening influences of His Holy Spirit to be with us.
Now we are passing through other trials. We have emerged from those that environed us a few years ago. A great change, as I have said, has taken place in public feeling concerning us. Our Elders are treated generally with a great deal of kindness. Of the thousand Elders that are now laboring in the United States, the report comes from most of them that they are treated with kindness. Traveling without purse and scrip, they are entertained, friends are raised up to them, doors are opened to them, and they are treated kindly, and not persecuted to anything like the extent they were a few years ago. The same report comes from the five hundred Elders who are now engaged in the ministry in Europe. Their testimony agrees with the testimony of the servants of God in the United States. This is particularly the case in the German empire. There was a time when it was almost at the cost of personal liberty that men preached the Gospel there. They had to do so in secrecy, in places where the police could not punish them because of the nature of their gatherings. But now this is changed. Religious freedom has dawned in many of these countries, and the Elders now can preach without being put in jeopardy as they were a few years ago.
On the islands of the Pacific there are some two hundred Elders laboring, and their labors are also attended with good results. They speak of the manifestation of the power and blessings of God in their behalf, and of the kindly feeling that is manifested towards them by those with whom they are brought in contact.
Thus these seventeen hundred Elders are laboring now with an efficiency and with a success that is unparalleled in the history of our Church. At no time has this Church held an annual Conference where there was greater cause for gratulation and thanksgiving than there is today in this Sixty-eighth Annual Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Never before were there so many Elders in the field. Never before did they meet with such success. Never before were there so many baptized in a single year apparently as there have been during this year. These causes of thanksgiving ought to be remembered by us, and we ought to thank our God from the bottom of our hearts for that which He is doing for us, for the fulfillment of the words of the servant of God in the Temple when it was dedicated; for he then prophesied what would be the result of that dedication and the glorious effects that would follow that work.
In our own country here we also have cause for thanksgiving. It is interesting to the Saints, no doubt, to know, as many probably do know, that Brothers Lyman and Cowley have visited the conferences and the Elders in the Southern, Eastern and Northern States, and their ministrations among those whom they have visited have been attended with good effects, in regulating affairs, giving instructions, correcting anything that was improper or that was likely to become improper. We have been greatly gratified at hearing the reports which they have given to us of the results of their labors. The Presidents and Elders in the Southern, Eastern, Northern and Southwestern States missions are doing excellent work.
As you know probably, Brother Anthon H. Lund has left here since our last Conference for Palestine, accompanied by Brother Hintze (who formerly labored in the Turkish mission and who has a knowledge of the language) and an Armenian brother, who wished to return to his own country. The object of their going is to endeavor to secure a place of gathering for the Saints of the Orient, so that they may not be subjected to the restrictions that are imposed upon immigrants to this land from those countries. We do not know how successful they may be in their labors; but the word we have received is hopeful and encouraging. The Elders have been greatly blessed so far in their journey, and have been successful at their first meeting in baptizing quite a large number of people who were prepared to receive the Gospel, and also confirming a number who had been baptized, but who had not been confirmed because of the absence of a bearer of the Melchisedek Priesthood. The brethren write very encouragingly on these matters, and we hope they will be successful in finding a spot, if it be the Lord’s will, where the Saints of the Orient can commence to gather in that land, so that the principle of gathering, which the Lord is impressing strongly upon the minds of the converts to His Gospel, may be carried out there.
The Twelve Apostles at home, as you all know, have been untiring in their labors in visiting the various conferences and laboring with the Saints to the extent of their ability. Brothers John Henry Smith and John W. Taylor, during a few weeks’ absence, held 100 meetings with the Saints in the various Stakes where they visited, and the reports that come to us show that these labors have been attended with excellent effects.
The Seven Presidents of Seventies, also, either accompany the Twelve or go themselves. They are a traveling ministry, laboring very assiduously in their calling among the various Stakes those of them who are home. As you know, two of their number are now in Europe, presiding over the European Mission Brothers Rulon S. Wells and Joseph W. McMurrin.
A new step has been taken, that is, to preach to the surrounding peoples. Our attention has been drawn to the states surrounding us. Brother John W. Taylor has been laboring in Colorado with a number of Elders, and with great success. In Denver, Pueblo and other places they have been the means of bringing many to the knowledge of the truth. In Idaho and Montana, also, the Elders have been laboring and have done and are doing a good work in different places there, and they report excellent results. The people are listening to them, and furnishing them with places where they can meet and preach to the people. In our own State we have heard of the brethren taking hold and visiting their neighbors who are not of our faith.
There is a class of people in Utah who think what they do not know about the Mormons and their doctrines is not worth knowing, and they are filled with conceit respecting their knowledge of our principles, while they are densely ignorant concerning us. That which they do know is of so shallow a character that it deceives them. They sometimes go away and talk to newspaper people, and tell what they know, and how long they have resided here, and yet they really do not know anything about us. But besides this class there is another, composed of honest people who are not of our faith honest, I mean, in regard to morality and in their conception of the truth. A man may be a very honest man financially, and yet not be honest enough to receive the truth of heaven. It is, therefore, no impugnment of a man’s financial honesty to talk about his not being honest enough to receive the truth. Some of the brethren thought they could do a good work in the different wards by visiting these who are not of our faith. Where this has been done, the reports are that it has been attended with excellent results. Many of the people in the State have read our works with pleasure, and have expressed their confidence in their truth.
This is a good thing. It is a labor that should be encouraged among us. Some of these people have complained of our exclusiveness. Of course, we can understand why we are exclusive. We have had such a training as to make us to a great extent exclusive. They have had cause doubtless for thinking that we in our treatment of them, were exclusive; but where they have been brought in contact with our people, especially with our sisters, the effects, as reported to us, have invariably been good. We have felt to encourage the Presidents of Stakes and the Bishops of wards in this labor, because we believe it will be attended with most excellent effects, and many may thus be brought to the knowledge of the truth.
In California the work has been progressing also in a very satisfactory manner. The President of the California Mission wrote a letter to the First Presidency a short time since, and said there were three Elders there that would like to have their wives sent to them, as they thought they could do a good work. About the same time we received a letter from the European Mission, the Presidency of which suggested that where the Elders could take their wives with them, and they were prudent women, they might do a great deal of good. Just about those days a letter came from a president of a Stake, saying there was a young couple in his Stake who were about to be married; but the young man had been called on a mission, and they delayed their marriage till they could ask some counsel. The young man and the young woman were both morally and physically capable of going on a mission, and they had sufficient means also. The question was asked, Would it be right for them to get married, and for the young lady to accompany her husband? The First Presidency wrote back, “Yes, if she is such a young woman us you describe; let her be set apart us a missionary and go with her husband and preach the Gospel as well as she can.” We said the same to the president of the California mission; we said, “Yes, if these wives are prudent women.” We do not want unwise women sent any more than unwise men, because they could do more injury than they could do good. But if they can get a recommend from their Bishops as wise, suitable women, we will set them apart and send them to their husbands, if their husbands can bear the expense of their transportation. Since then two other ladies were going to Europe, and the application came up from the President of the Stake and his counselors to know whether they could not go in the capacity of missionaries. They were capable young ladies; they had kindred in Europe, one a brother and the other an affianced, and the question was, what should be done about them. We sent word back, “Yes, if they are the kind you describe, set them apart and let them go us missionaries to preach the Gospel, as far as they can, to their own sex and to others who will listen to them.” It seems as though the Lord is preparing the way for the women of this Church to do some good in this direction. To some lands and under some circumstances suitable women might go with their husbands as missionaries and be able to do a great deal of good.
The Presidency of the European mission wrote to us of several sisters who had been there with their husbands, and they described the good they had done and the good influence they had carried. It was illustrated by a conversation that was had a short time ago at one of our social gatherings. Brother George D. Pyper and his wife had been East, and in the branch where they had visited there had been frequent expressions among those who had not joined the Church to this effect: “Well, we have seen the Mormon Elders, but we have not seen the Mormon women; we would like to see some Mormon women, and see what kind of people they are.” There was one woman of some prominence that had not joined the Church, though her husband had; but she had expressed herself several times in this manner. Sister Pyper visited there, and became acquainted with this lady, and the lady was so pleased at meeting one of our sisters an intelligent woman, and a woman that did not look as though she was a poor, downtrodden slave that she entered the Church. No doubt, it was due to the fact that she had found that the women were as intelligent, as presentable and as ladylike in their sphere as the gentlemen were in their sphere. This is encouraging, and it no doubt will enlarge our field of operations to a very great extent. There will be an opportunity, doubtless, for women who are capable and who desire to do good, to go out, under proper conditions; not to go unattended and alone that would not be prudent but where they have husbands who are going, and they are suitable in other respects, it would seem as though there would be no impropriety in their going and bearing their testimony. Of course, they cannot administer the ordinances. It is not their province to officiate in the ordinances of the Gospel. But they can bear testimony; they can teach; they can distribute tracts, and they can do a great many things that would assist in the propagation of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Now, brethren and sisters, looking at all the work in its entirety, have we not cause to glorify God this day, at this Sixty-eighth Annual Conference? Sixty-eight years the Church has been organized. We look back to our sorrows, our tribulations and that which the Saints have endured, but for those who have been faithful to the truth there is no sorrow mingled with our contemplation of those scenes, There is no cause to regret being steadfast and maintaining our integrity until today. And how does the future look? Radiant with promise, bright with hope, everything to encourage us.
We have our trials today of a financial character. Our people, many of them, are unemployed. In consequence of this, the counsel has been given to not send the Saints here from abroad, but rather to keep them in the branches until they get grounded in the faith. After a while, when they are established in the truth and are better able to endure the trials they will have to meet with in Zion, they can gather. But now it is not the voice of the Spirit that the Saints should gather from the nations of the earth as they have been doing, coming here full of inexperience, and then unable to endure the trials that they have to contend with, and apostatize. Let them stay in their branches, and if they wish to apostatize let them apostatize there, without being at the trouble and expense of coming to Zion. In this way we may raise up strong branches, that will assist the Elders in the various fields of labor, and sustain and comfort them. This is the counsel that has been given to the Elders, and we think it correct counsel. In the meantime those at home can be strengthening themselves as best they can. As I say, we are passing through trials of this character. There never has been a time since we have been in these mountains that we have had such things to contend with. In the early days there was scarcity of comforts and of money; but there was no debt. Now the great bulk of the people that is, of the leading people are in debt. The most prudent men among us have got entangled. This is the condition of the people. Shall we remain in this condition? President Woodruff says he hopes not. Now it is a good chance to prophesy; but I do not want to assume that role today. I feel assured, however, that we shall emerge from these financial troubles just as we have from other trials. I do not have the shadow of a doubt in my mind about it. But I do not wish to say what I feel, for I do not want to say too much about these things. But I think we have great cause for hope and encouragement. Looking at the past, and remembering the blessings that God has given to us, the promises He has made to us, and the deliverances He has wrought our for us, I think we have cause to rejoice today and to put our trust in Him. He will bring us through if we will only serve Him. He will teach us where we are ignorant; He will give us knowledge, and knowledge is power. Because there is knowledge among the people is what makes this Church a powerful organization. The Lord has given unto us knowledge concerning many things.
At the present time all Europe is preparing for war. They do not know what may arise out of these Chinese complications. America is disturbed by the prospects of war with Spain. Capitalists are endeavoring to keep their money in a position where they can handle and control it. A general feeling of unrest prevails throughout the nation. Now, as far as we are concerned, while we share to a certain extent in all these feelings (for we are part of this nation, and nothing can happen to the nation that will not affect us), there is among us an absence of fear, a feeling of rest, an absence of trepidation concerning the movements of the nation, and a sense of security that I believe no other people on the earth have. The reason of it is that we know that God doeth nothing, except He revealeth it unto His servants the Prophets. We know the spirit of prophecy is in our midst, and that if there is any danger threatening us we shall be prepared for it. The Lord will inspire His servants and His people so that they will not be found unprepared.
God bless you, my brethren and sisters God bless us all during this Conference; bless every man that shall speak, and inspire him with the Spirit and power of God; bless every one that shall listen that all may rejoice together and be mutually edified; which I humbly ask in the name of Jesus. Amen.
President Joseph F. Smith
President Joseph F. Smith
Righteousness brings temporal, as well as spiritual blessings-Some professing to be Saints not consistent.
As a few minutes remain, I have been requested to bear my testimony. I think I can safely declare that the testimony which we have heard this morning from President George Q. Cannon is, from first to last, true; and I do not hesitate to believe that all this congregation of Latter-day Saints can bear testimony to the truth of the remarks which we have heard. I certainly bear my testimony to these things; for I not only know by experience of their truth, but the Spirit of the Lord bears record of it to my heart, as I know it must do to all the Latter-day Saints. The Lord has sustained His people. He has guided His servants. He has opened up our way, and from time to time has lifted the clouds of persecution and of darkness that have lowered over our heads, and caused the sunlight of joy and truth to shine down upon the Latter-day Saints. The Lord has blessed us in these valleys of the mountains, and has given us of His abundance; for He has made the earth fruitful for our sake. He has blessed us abundantly with the products of the earth and with rich return for our labors, wherein we have labored wisely and with prudence have used the blessings that the Lord has bestowed upon us. Many of us may have been unwise in the management of our affairs, and because of this unwisdom we today suffer the results of our own short-sightedness and folly. Where this has been the case, I hope and pray that we may profit by this experience for all time to come, and that in the future we will live nearer unto the Lord, that we may have more abundantly the light of His Spirit to guide us, not only in our spiritual affairs, but also in all temporal affairs. The work that we are engaged in is not designed to be limited by the spiritual necessities of the people alone. It is the purpose of God in restoring the Gospel and the holy Priesthood, not only to benefit mankind spiritually, but also to benefit them temporally. The Lord has expressed this many times, in the word that He gave to His servant Joseph Smith the Prophet; He designed that His people should become the richest of all people. And this not only means the richest of all people in heavenly gifts in spiritual blessings and riches, but it also means that the people of God shall be the richest of all people with regard to temporal matters. If faithful we have a right to claim the blessings of the Lord upon the labor of our hands, our temporal labors. The farmer has a right to ask the Lord for blessings upon his farm, upon the labor that he bestows upon it. He has a right to claim the blessings of the Lord upon the animals that are necessary to the cultivation of his farm. He has a right to ask God to bless the grain that he sows and the seeds of the fruit that he plants in the soil. It is his privilege, not only to ask and claim these blessings at the hand of the Lord, but it is his right and privilege to receive blessings from God upon his labor, upon his farm, and upon all that he puts his hand unto in righteousness. It is our privilege to ask God to remove the curse from the earth, and to make it fruitful. If we will live that we shall be entitled to His favor, and that we may justly and righteously claim the blessings and gifts that He has promised unto His Saints, then that which we ask will be given, and we shall receive and enjoy them more abundantly. It is our privilege to ask God to bless the elements that surround us and to temper them for our good, and we know He will hear and answer the prayers of His people, according to their faith. Read the Scriptures, if we believe them, and the testimonies that are there borne of the dealings of God with ancient Israel, and see how God blessed the people when they were faithful in keeping His commandments. The earth was made fruitful for them. Their vines did not cast their fruit before their time. They were free from mildew, and from rust, and from the devouring insects, and from drouth, and from every casualty and destructive evil. They were prospered in their outgoings and in their incomings, and they had abundance, when they served the Lord. This is according to the history that has been written of the dealings of God with His ancient people. They were blessed with the early and the latter rains, and the earth was made fruitful for them. When from necessity they went out to battle against their enemies, their enemies fled before them seven ways, as the Scriptures tell us. In every way did God bless and prosper them, and made them notable among the nations of the earth. But when they forgot their tithes and their offerings; when they forgot their prayers, and became rebellious and disobedient to the laws and requirements of God, then were the rains withheld, and the earth became dust beneath their feet, their vines cast their fruit before their time; they were cursed with the blight, and with the mildew, and with the rust, and with the grasshopper, and with the devouring insects, until they were brought down low in poverty and in distress. The Lord felt after the people in ancient times in this way. (See Deut. 28.)
Now, what was true respecting God’s dealings with the people of Israel in ancient days is true and applicable today.
This is my testimony and I believe this would be the testimony of every faithful Latter-day Saint. Every man and woman who has labored in faith and humility, putting their trust in the Lord, have this testimony in their hearts. But those who have labored without faith, without hope, without charity; those who have not put their trust in the Lord, who have become worldly; who have allowed the spirit of skepticism to enter into their hearts; who have labored as the infidel labors, without regard to the duties that men owe to God such as these may indeed be barren of this knowledge and testimony, and may be without the consolation, assurance and strength this testimony gives.
I am not unaware of the fact that there is more or less infidelity and skepticism in the hearts of the people. I am aware of the fact that some are indifferent to the duties that devolve upon us as Latter-day Saints. We have exhibitions of this Spirit of infidelity, of ridicule and of recklessness day after day as we walk along the streets and as we observe the conduct of men. We see it upon the Sabbath day, when men professing to be members of the Church should be but are not honoring the Sabbath and keeping it holy. We see it when we take into consideration the requirements the Lord has made of His people with regard to the Word of Wisdom and contrast the same with their doings. As we pass up and down the streets, and as we go from place to place we see how little regard is paid by a certain class to this instruction that has been given to the people to make them Saints. We only need to go to the mercantile houses in the country and enquire there as to the amount of useless and hurtful things which are imported into the country and sold day by day and year by year to the people. Some of our pretended pious people, a few years ago, were shocked and horrified by seeing the symbol of the All-Seeing Eye and the words “Holiness to the Lord” in gilt letters over the front of Zion’s Cooperative Mercantile Institution. Especially was this the case with some of our brethren when they found these letters over the drug department of Z. C. M. I. Why was it? Why some of these pious(?) Mormons found that Z. C. M. I., under the symbol of the All-seeing Eye and the sacred words, “Holiness to the Lord,” sold tea and coffee, and tobacco, and other things possibly that Latter-day Saints ought not to use; and at the drug store, Z. C. M. I. kept liquors of various kinds for medicinal purpose. It was terribly shocking to some of the Latter-day Saints that under these holy words liquor should be kept for sale. Has it ever injured me, in any sense of the word, because Z. C. M. I. drug store kept liquor for sale? Has it made me a drunkard? Have I been under the necessity of guzzling liquid poison? Have I made myself a sot because liquor was kept for sale by Z. C. M. I.? I am not the worse for it, thank the Lord. And who else is? No one, except those pious Mormons(?) who in open day or under the cover of night would go into the drug store and buy liquor to drink. They are the ones, of all others, who of course would be horrified at the fact that liquor was sold in a place of merchandise. These who were the most horrified at seeing the All-Seeing Eye and “Holiness to the Lord” over the front door of Z. C. M. I., I will guarantee are the ones that have bought the most tea and coffee, tobacco and whisky there. Anybody will apostatize with that sort of a spirit, if they do not repent of it, because it is a sordid, bigoted, short-sighted and hypocritical spirit. Latter-day Saints cannot afford to indulge in such actions or conduct as this, nor to harbor this spirit in their hearts. It does not matter to me how much tea and coffee Z. C. M. I. sells, so long as I do not buy it. If I do not drink it am I not all right? And if the poor creature that wants it can get it there, that ought to satisfy him. If he could not get it there, he would not patronize Z. C. M. I. at all, but would go somewhere else to deal.
But the object I had in view in referring to this matter was to bring to your minds how reckless some of the people are with regard to keeping the commandments of God, and how many of us will strain at a gnat and swallow a camel; how many of us will criticise and find fault with that which exists only in our own imagination, while we ourselves are guilty of a great deal worse things than that which we criticise and condemn.
May the Lord bless the people, and although many of us are not living up to our privileges and are not worthy to claim the fullness of the blessings of the Gospel upon our heads, I pray God that He will forgive our sins. that He will bear patiently with us, that He will extend to us long suffering and forgiveness and the assistance of His Holy Spirit, that whereas today we are beset with weaknesses and imperfections and we come far short, we may in time improve, repent of our sins, and become regenerated, that we may enjoy the fullness of the blessings of the Gospel, which I ask in the name of Jesus. Amen.
The choir sang the anthem,
Jesus, I my cross have taken.
Benediction by Patriarch John Smith.
First Day-Afternoon Session
First Day-Afternoon Session
Opening hymn sung by the choir:
“High on the mountain top
A banner is unfurled,
Ye nations now look up,
It waves to all the world.”
Prayer by Elder Anthony Ivins.
Singing by the choir:
“Awake, ye Saints of God, awake!
Call on the Lord in mighty prayer,
That He will Zion’s bondage break,
And bring to naught the fowler’s snare.”
President Lorenzo Snow
President Lorenzo Snow
Necessity for Divine assistance-Leading object of our present life-The Saints should be progressive-The United Order.
I take pleasure in occupying this position a short time, and with the aid of your prayers and the exercise of your faith, I would like to say something that will prove of mutual benefit. It is the privilege of Latter-day Saints who have entered into covenants with the Lord, who has revealed Himself in these latter times, to constantly improve, and especially under circumstances of the present where we assemble together and can exercise our faith in the interest of those who address us. And no Latter-day Saints should withdraw from an assemblage of this character without having received something that will be of importance in the future scenes of their lives. In and of ourselves we cannot possibly comply with all the commandments that God has given unto us. Jesus himself could not without divine aid from His Father accomplish His work. He said on one occasion, “I can of mine own self do nothing, as I hear I judge and my judgment is just because I seek not my own will but the will of the Father who sent me.” And we, if it was necessary for Him; our Lord, to have divine assistance, will find it all the more important to receive His assistance. And in every circumstance and condition surrounding the Latter-day Saints, while in the performance of their duties, they are entitled to supernatural aid from the Holy Spirit, to help in the various conditions surrounding them, and in the duties that they are required to perform.
It is a mighty and glorious work in which we are engaged, and its benefits, so far as we accomplish the labors assigned us, are attended with the highest advantages to ourselves. I cannot imagine anything that is so vastly important as to work for and obtain one’s own individual exaltation and glory. That undoubtedly is one great purpose for which we came into the world. When we lived in the other life we had no doubt some understanding with reference to our duties in this life when we were permitted to come to this our second estate.
And very likely we put ourselves under certain obligations that we would discharge certain duties devolving upon us when we came here into our second estate. And we had rendered ourselves worthy to come upon this earth for the purpose of securing those blessings that could only be obtained by observing the laws pertaining to our present estate. There are many important things required at our hands, and many things which we can do, when assisted by the Spirit of the Lord, which may at times seem almost impossible to accomplish, and no man or woman should be discouraged when they feel that they cannot complete what they would like to perform, but we all should do what we can toward carrying out the grand work for which we are here. Paul said, he pressed forward toward the mark in the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Now this is a very good principle for us to keep constantly before us day by day, month by month and year by year. We should labor for perfection so far as possible, and seek to go onward. There is no man or woman who can stand still any great length of time. In this path over which we are moving we are very likely to go backward if we undertake to stand still or act indifferently. We must push forward, because as the Church moves on, it is very evident that things of a more difficult character are occurring constantly, and we will find it far from easy to overcome them. Unless we improve as we move along we will find it very difficult to magnify our callings and to perform the work required at our hands. Latter-day Saints should not permit themselves to stand still. It is a privilege we have to serve the Lord and enjoy His spirit in our labors, but many of the people lose that portion of happiness that they might enjoy because of not reflecting seriously upon their duties and acting wisely and prudently.
We are told that the Lord will reveal unto our minds things past, things present, and things to come. There is a certain amount of qualification that could be had by becoming possessed of a knowledge of things that are past; that is to say, in reference to ourselves, to the things we have done in the past those duties imposed upon us. There is a satisfaction and an enjoyment in such reflections. And then when we reflect upon the future, and the exaltation that the Lord proposes to bestow upon us there is joy in that. There is great enjoyment to be had in having done right in the past and meditating upon the fact, and feeling that we are doing right now, because it is the privilege of every Latter-day Saint to know when he is doing that which pertains to the things of the Lord. If our past conduct has been such, and our present conduct is such that we will be entitled to receive glory and exaltation, and have our bodies free from disease and death, and be crowned with immortal glory in the midst of our wives, children and friends, worlds without end, these are contemplations which cause us to enjoy ourselves. This is the way Latter-day Saints should live. At present a great deal of trouble, anxieties and vexations are experienced by the Latter-day Saints, but we want to overcome these things and be qualified for the important duties required at our hands. The man who is sick is disqualified to act in things required of a healthy man. There is this privilege that every Latter-day Saint should seek to enjoy, to know positively that his work is accepted of God. I am afraid Latter-day Saints are not much better and perhaps they are worse than other people if they do not have this knowledge and seek to do right.
Paul was caught up to the third heaven, and he heard and saw things that were of the highest advantage to him, and, although he was not permitted to say what he saw and heard there, on account of the hardness of the hearts of the people, we can see the effects of it in his teachings and writings in that day. Paul said: “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God.” Well, that was an extraordinary expression for Paul to make at that time, but there was something in it. 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, and every man that hath this hope in him purifies himself, even as He is pure.”
Every man having this hope in him purifies himself. There then naturally arises a determination to work for that high and noble position, to work for those wonderful promises made. There is an inducement to pursue a course of righteousness.
In this system of religion that you and I have received there is something grand and glorious, and something new to learn every day, that is of great value. And it is not only our privilege but it is necessary that we receive these things and gather these new ideas. This Church, in its travels from the beginning, has passed through, as was told by President Cannon this morning, the most severe trials which tried the heart and soul of every man and woman in it. Now if we had not been pretty fair Latter-day Saints in the past we could not have done as well as we have, and we could not have looked back with so much pleasure on what we have accomplished. When we get into the other life and look back upon our past, which we will undoubtedly understand, some of our actions will be of the highest pleasure to reflect upon, and will add to our enjoyment in the future life. For instance, Abraham, when he reflects upon what he accomplished in this life, when in obedience to the command of God he took his only son, through whom he had been promised glorious blessings, up on the high mountain and was about to sacrifice him The Lord praised him for doing this. Now if Abraham had not been faithful for some time before this happened he would not have been able to accomplish this thing. We ought to improve ourselves and move faster toward the point of perfection. It is said that we cannot be perfect. Jesus has commanded us to be perfect even as God, the Father, is perfect. It is our duty to try to be perfect, and it is our duty to improve each day, and look upon our course last week and do things better this week; do things better today than we did them yesterday, and go on and on from one degree of righteousness to another. Jesus will come by and by, and appear in our midst, as He appeared in the day when upon the earth among the Jews, and He will eat and drink with us and talk to us, and explain the mysteries of the Kingdom, and tell us things that are not lawful to talk about now.
We are going back to Jackson county, Missouri, one of these days. Now if it was proper to wish it I would not care if it was tomorrow, if word should come for us to go back to Jackson county and build up a great city there. The day will come when Latter-day Saints will be selected all may not be called at once, but those who are worthy will be called. There will be no poverty in that day. There will be plenty of food, clothing and other necessaries of life; and the father who has a family, if called suddenly to depart this life, will know that his wife and children will be taken care of, that provision will be made for their sustenance and comfort. But this is the United Order that we sometimes hear mentioned, but the time perhaps has not yet come to establish it. But the Latter-day Saints will never be satisfied with any other arrangement that might be proposed. The nations of the earth have for a long time been trying to establish some principle by which they can be financially sustained, united and live in peace, but have not succeeded. But the Lord has revealed a principle clearly and definitely so that there will be no mistake about it. The system will bring financial union to the Latter-day Saints, and we will be satisfied with it as we are now with the principles of the Gospel. It will suit us. It is something that is natural. And then you and I will have no trouble about our children’s temporal welfare. This will take place and whoever goes to Jackson county will meet with that sympathy and friendship that were not met with in early days, and because of the absence of which the people were allowed to be driven out.
These are things for the Latter-day Saints and for every man and woman to think about, and we should commence to prepare and fit ourselves for the United Order. As far as spiritual things are concerned we are pretty well united, but when it comes to temporalities we often differ. But you will see the day, if you live properly, observe the Word of Wisdom and do that which is required, you will go back to Jackson county, many of you whom I am addressing this afternoon. I am sure of this.
God bless you brethren and sisters, and also President Woodruff, the most remarkable man that dwells on the face of the earth, and whom the Lord has most wonderfully blessed during all the scenes of life. It is grand and glorious to think what the Lord has accomplished with Brother Woodruff, and with the Saints generally. God bless you, is my prayer continually, Amen.
Elder Heber J. Grant
Elder Heber J. Grant
The need of inspiration-The true path of duty.
It is a source of pleasure to me to once more meet with the Latter-day Saints in General Conference, and I hope that what shall be spoken here this afternoon may be for our mutual benefit. It has ever been my desire in addressing the Latter-day Saints, that my mind might be lighted up with the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. I realize that, in teaching the people, unless the speaker is inspired of our Father in Heaven it is impossible to say anything that will be of benefit or worth to the Saints. I have nothing particular upon my mind that I desire to talk upon in addressing you this afternoon. I have enjoyed the remarks of the brethren who have spoken thus far during this Conference, and I hope that during its continuance we will be blessed with the light and inspiration of the Spirit from on high. I rejoice in the many testimonies of the truthfulness of the Gospel that I have received. I rejoice in the evidence that comes to me from time to time, in my labors, of the goodness of God to me and also to you to one and all. I find, in mingling with the Latter-day Saints, that all who are striving to keep the commandments of the Lord are abundantly blessed, and they realize that our Heavenly Father is with them, and rejoice in their hearts because of His goodness toward them.
When we stop to contemplate the great hardships that our fathers and mothers have had to pass through in establishing the work of God in the earth, it should cause us to be thankful because of our comparatively pleasant surroundings. I sometimes feel that we know but little of their sorrows, and of what they have had to endure. When we realize how easy it is for us to live we cannot begin to imagine what hardships they have had to pass through. I am truly grateful that I have not been called to endure such trials. I never had a desire, myself, to have experiences of this kind. We sometimes meet people who say they would like to have witnessed the trials of the early Saints and taken a part in them, but I have no wish to nominate myself for a martyr. I tell you what I do desire; it is to be tested and tried only so far as is necessary to qualify me for the duties which have been imposed upon me, and to gain an exaltation in the presence of my Heavenly Father.
I regret exceedingly that from my earliest recollections I have had to listen to the servants of the Lord pleading, with very little success, with the people to live their religion. My own counsel and advice to the Latter-day Saints have been to do their duties towards God and to keep the commandments that He has given them. Notwithstanding the brethren have labored hard to teach the Saints their duties, and have frequently repeated the commandments of the Lord unto this people, many of them have not yet learned the necessity of performing their duties. I believe if I were to call for those people here today who have been taught and believe all the revelations contained in the book of Doctrine and Covenants to be the inspired words of God, and that Joseph Smith was a Prophet of God, nearly all who are in this congregation would raise their hands and say they knew these things to be true. But if I were to call for all those who had been absolutely honest with God in keeping His commandments, I am afraid a majority of the congregation would not raise their hands. If I were to ask for those who observed the Word of Wisdom, and who did not spend a portion of their means for tobacco and liquor, and who paid an honest tithing to the Lord, one-half of those here today would, I am afraid, fail to lift their hands. A great majority would answer that they had received their endowments in the temple of God, that they had entered into covenants with the Lord. They know the covenants that they have made with our Heavenly Father, and how many are there who carry out these covenants that they have entered into? I have heard a great many people, in my time, pray unto the Lord for blessings. And they would dedicate their time and strength and all that they possessed for the onward advancement of the Kingdom of God, but when they are called upon to help the Church in a financial way they are very careful to keep their means hid from the Lord they keep it for their own advancement. We are not ready and willing to keep the commandments of God, but we are ready and willing to carry out our own wishes. We do not ask what it is desired that we should do, but generally suit ourselves as to what we would like to do. Is this right? No, it is not. I feel that there is plenty of room for improvement, and we should improve.
We heard this morning about some of the trials and tribulations our fathers had to pass through, and President Cannon said he expected to see the day when our financial troubles would vanish, as our other troubles have disappeared. I have faith that all those who have been honest with God in the past will soon be delivered from the bondage of debt. I expect that a great many of the Latter-day Saints, before the day of that deliverance, will be made to remember the covenants which they have made with the Lord, They have not been honest with the Lord. As one of the inspired men of old said, the people had robbed the Lord in their tithes and offerings. I say when the Latter-day Saints will pay an honest tithing unto the Lord there will be no need of talking about debts and of being in the bondage of debt. But the trouble is we do not do it. Scores of men compromise with the Lord on the basis of 10 cents on the dollar, and they rob Him of the other 90 cents. They discount their debts to the Lord 25 per cent. Why, a man would be ashamed of himself to go into Z. C. M. I. and ask it to knock off 25 per cent from his bill, but with God they discount their bills 10 cents, 25 cents and 50 cents on the dollar, and then call themselves honest. I wish the Lord would inspire us with a determination to be honest, and that the brethren could inspire this feeling among the Latter-day Saints, so that we would all try to be upright with the Lord. A man will say, “I owe my neighbor and must pay him before 1 can settle my tithing.” Well, I know I owe lots of my neighbors, and they try to collect from me. But I owe God an honest tithing; He has given me a testimony of Jesus and a hope of eternal life, and I intend to pay Him first and my neighbors afterwards. It is our duty to settle with the Lord first, and I intend to do it, with the help of my Heavenly Father. And I want to say to you, if you will be honest with the Lord, paying your tithing and keeping His commandments, He will not only bless you with the light and inspiration of His Holy Spirit, but you will be blessed in dollars and cents; you will be enabled to pay your debts, and the Lord will pour out temporal blessings upon you in great abundance.
May the Lord bless and guide us by the inspiration of His Spirit always, is my prayer in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Elder Franklin D. Richards
Elder Franklin D. Richards
Early Church experiences-Revelations of the Gospel-Faithful payment of tithes-New wine in old bottles-Destiny of our children-A work for all to do.
I esteem it a very precious favor to be privileged to meet with the Saints in their general Conference; indeed, at all times in their assemblages; and being called upon to speak to you this afternoon, I greatly desire that measure of the Spirit that will enable me to speak to your edification, as I realize that without it our time will be unprofitably spent. We have had, since the opening of this Conference, a great deal of precious instructions, and recalling of past circumstances to refresh our minds with things that are important and profitable unto us.
I was thinking, while listening to the former speakers, how it was with us in the beginning of this work. People that are born into the Church now, enter into the various temporal pursuits, such as have been spoken of by previous speakers, and they seem to think the duty of paying tithing is simply a matter of convenience. Our youngsters born in the Church now, a good many of them, do not enter into the spirit of this work as it was entertained in the beginning.
Now my mind is carried back to the time when the Gospel came to me and to my kindred, in the state of Massachusetts, in the year 1838, when I embraced it. The way we looked upon these things was somewhat on this wise: We were willing to have our names cast out as evil. If we had any earthly substance at all we were willing to lay it upon the altar of sacrifice for the Lord, who gave it to us. We dedicated it unto Him for the establishment of His Church and kingdom. We did not stop there. The law of tithing had not been revealed at that time; but, in addition to the good name that we held among our friends and neighbors, we gave all that we had and then we placed ourselves upon the altar with whatever we had, or should have, to be given to the Lord in consideration of the blessed Gospel that he had revealed to us. We felt that this was our reasonable duty, as well as our acceptable service. It was with that spirit that people joined the Church in those days when the Gospel was presented to them. It was in those times that Presidents Woodruff and Snow and others embraced the Gospel, when it was first preached among the people. We gave everything to the Lord, feeling that it was not our own, but belonged to Him, to do just as He wished with it. We started in to keep the commandments and were baptized for the remission of our sins, and we received the Holy Ghost as a Comforter throughout our future lives; and then, when we came to that, oh! how we felt paid, for everything that we had done, and for every sacrifice we had made!
I remember well the first testimony of the Holy Spirit that was given to me, in the first blessing of healing that was conferred upon me when I had been laid up with sickness for a long time. It was between Grand Prairie and Missouri, during a snow storm, such as we had last Sunday, with from four to six inches of snow on the ground. I was traveling on foot to Missouri. I recollect, on that blessed, snowy day, how glorious all things were to me. Although at this time the Prophet had been put in prison, and about thirty of the brethren were also imprisoned, it was revealed to me that this was the work of the Lord, and that God was going to bring it out triumphantly. I knew the Gospel was true, although I had not yet seen the Prophet Joseph Smith. The Lord revealed it to me, and I knew that Brother Joseph was a Prophet, not by man’s testimony, but in the same way that Peter knew that the Lord Jesus Christ was the Savior, when the Lord asked, “But whom say ye that I am?” and Peter answered, “Thou art Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Christ said, “Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.” I had prayed to God for a knowledge of this Gospel, and when I received this blessing I felt that if I owned the world I would willingly give it to the Lord for the furtherance of His work. When we received the Gospel and the testimony of the Holy Ghost, we realized that we had indeed found the “Pearl of Great Price,” and the power of God was upon us and in our hearts. How glorious it was to listen to the inspired men in that day, expounding the Scriptures and explaining the prophecies made by Daniel about the stone being cut out without hands. We entertained no idea of the circumstances that would attend the rolling forth of that stone spoken of by Daniel, which was to roll forth and fill the whole earth. We were but few in number then, but have now lived to see the Church grow from a few hundred to some 250,000 souls.
The law of tithing was not revealed at that time, but we were commanded to carry on the work with our means. The Temple at Kirtland was built in this way. The Saints did all the work they could on the building, and then went out and obtained work here and there, and with the money they earned they purchased those things that were necessary for its completion. It was done by sacrificing all that they had; and when we had done all that we could do, Oh! how joyous it was to know the Lord accepted the work, when He stood upon the breastwork of the Temple, converged with the Prophet Joseph and Oliver, and revealed to them their duties, and informed them that the Gospel should go from there and be preached throughout the nations of the earth. It had not then been preached throughout the United States even, because the northern men were called abolitionists, and the southern slaveholders had no use for us and would not tolerate us, but now it can be spread throughout the nation.
What an easy thing it is to pay ten per cent as a tithing unto the Lord! I think this principle should be taken into the Sabbath schools and the Mutual Improvement Associations throughout Zion, and taught to the young at home. They should be taught that this in one of the means of salvation in the Church and Kingdom of God, and if they are thoroughly taught this principle while young they will take to it just as naturally as small ducks take to water, but if you wait until they grow up before teaching them to pay their tithing, they will want to keep it in their pockets. They see father do it, and if father may do it, certainly it is not wrong for the boys to follow the father’s example.
Now this great work we are engaged in, my brethren and sisters, is truly wonderful. The Lord’s Spirit has gone forth among the children of men, and they are beginning to listen to the Elders. The Lord has shed forth His Spirit upon the nations of the earth, causing mankind to look for the coming of the Lord. The Lord has taught us through revelation to pray for His coming with His Kingdom and power (Doctrine and Covenants, Sec. 65), that we may be prepared for it, and that we may be in a condition to receive further revelation as our circumstances require. What have we had given to us since we began to pray for these blessings? Why, my brethren and sisters, it has been a stream of revelation ever since. When I first heard the Prophet speak, it was a stream of revelation to me. He was placed in prison, and, when he received his liberty again, he went right to work shepherding the Saints at Nauvoo and round about there. In those days we had not heard of baptism for the dead. I remember when the Prophet brought forth that doctrine. To some it was so strong it was like putting new wine into old bottles, some of them broke and the wine spilt out, losing both bottle and wine. We could not fully comprehend so glorious a principle. We did not receive everything at once, but it was given to us line upon line, and in this way it has been coming to us ever since as our circumstances have required.
Now, are we living up to these things as fast as we get them? And are we living by “every word that proceedeth from the mouth of God?” Are we preparing ourselves for the work that is before us? Are we just in the work of preparation? I look upon it that our children who are just growing up as intimated by President Snow, are the ones who will be permitted to build the New Jerusalem. You know the world has departed from the Lord and from the principles employed in building up Enoch’s city, and we and our fathers have wandered from the Lord in our spiritual affairs. And we are trying to be converted to the will of the Lord in our spiritual things, so that we may become converted in temporal things. We are trying to understand the Gospel as Enoch understood it and as Christ understood it, and to do business as they did it, living in cooperation and managing our affairs in the same way, but many of us are not willing to be taught in temporal matters. We should seek to carry out the commandments of the Lord. We must teach our children, our families and friends and unite in building up the Kingdom of God.
We sometimes forget these things are required by the Lord in building up His Kingdom. They are the material things God requires of us. For our earthly existence, and for the fruits of the earth that the Lord gives us, and for everything we should be thankful. We are educating our Sabbath school children to grow up and qualify themselves to become apostles, judges, bishops and all manner of officers in the Church that shall be needed to rule the Kingdom of God. And our young men should think upon these things and remember that some time the power and authority will come upon them to enable them to discharge these various duties. This is the precious land of Zion, to be occupied by God’s people. When we first came here, we could scarcely imagine that we would become 250,000 in number. What is it to be in the next sixty years if we continue our teaching the word of the Lord? We should realize that we are in a state of preparation, preparing our generations after us to live better than we, and to become sanctified in the Church.
We ought to have a generation in a little while prepared to go down and build up the New Jerusalem, according to the promises of the Lord in revealing the everlasting Gospel unto us. We are living too much upon the fractional part of the faith, as Brother Grant has been telling us. We should know that our course is right, and then continue in it. It is not half so important for our neighbors to know that we are honest as it is for ourselves to know it. We should prepare ourselves to build up Zion, and we ought not think these things so far off as we do, for it will not be long before we are called upon to do this work. We ought to raise men that are fully qualified to go into the world and build up the Church and spread the Gospel, thereby building up Zion. We should be willing to work to this end. We want to increase our 1,700 missionaries now in the field until we can get 200,000 out, and until the work of the Lord can be echoed from sea to sea, and from the north to the south. I want you to understand, brethren, that we have not come to a comfortable place, to squat down on it not to move again, but we should labor and send forth the Gospel to the nations of the earth, and help to build up Zion, and the man who is too old to go abroad should work here and help the younger men to go.
There is work for all to do. It is our duty to teach righteousness in the earth. It is your business as truly as it is the business of President Woodruff or any of us, to preach and work righteousness in the earth. I delight in the work of the Lord. We have a great work in hunting up Elders to send abroad to preach to the people. Our Elders should feel that we owe a duty to the human family. It is our duty to help to gather Israel and help to build up Zion, not with the tenth of our incomes only, but with all that we have; directly and indirectly we should give all.
Well, we are beginning to see what is before us. We are beginning to understand what blessings await those who are faithful and truthful in all things, and to understand what our duties are.
I pray that the Lord will impart strength unto us, and inspire us in our duties and make the fruits of our labors to be seen in our present life. And I pray the Lord to bless us with His spirit while we are together, so that Israel may read of the good time we have had. And I want to tell you, brethren, that these things spoken of regarding the coming of the Lord are not so far off. We have been praying to our Heavenly Father, whom we do not behold; but His Spirit is here and He answers our prayers, just as when we talk through a telephone we are answered, although we do not see the person with whom we are talking, and so it is with our Heavenly Father. The three great patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, started with a small beginning, and revelation tells us that they have become Gods, and the promise was given to them that their seed should be as numerous as the sands upon the seashore. We are their children, and are not the blessings of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob our blessings? It is our privilege to be exalted in the presence of Father Abraham. We have great encouragement to work righteousness and to qualify ourselves to teach the nations of the earth the Gospel, God bless you, May He bless us all and inspire us to labor for eternal lives, and may we be saved and exalted in His presence with all the faithful men and women who have lived. I ask it in the name of Jesus, Amen.
The choir sang the anthem,
Let the mountains shout for joy.
Benediction by Elder Angus M. Cannon.
Second Day-Morning Session
Second Day-Morning Session
April 7th, 10 a.m.
Singing by the choir:
Softly beams the sacred dawning
Of the great Millennial morn,
And to Saints gives welcome warning
That the day is hasting on.
Prayer by Elder Jonathan G. Kimball.
Singing by the choir of the hymn which begins:
What was witnessed in the heavens?
Why, an angel, earthward bound.
Had he something with him bringing?
Yes the Gospel Joyful sound.
Elder Abraham O. Woodruff
Elder Abraham O. Woodruff
The Holy Spirit makes all things clear-The Gospel embraces everything needed for the advancement of man-Good effects of home missionary work necessity of wisdom and union in temporal affairs.
My beloved brethren and sisters, I am pleased to meet with you this morning, and I trust that I may enjoy the Spirit of the Lord during the few moments that I may address you, as our brethren enjoyed that Spirit yesterday. I have no desire to speak a word that cannot be heard by every soul that is here this morning, and I have no desire to speak a word that will not be dictated by the Holy Spirit of God. We have learned in our experience how easy it is for men to speak to the edification of the Latter-day Saints and those who are seeking the truth when they are inspired by the Spirit of Almighty God; but with all the oratory and learning of men, they are not able to convert those who are honest in heart, except they possess this Spirit. The men who have had the greatest success in converting souls to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have not been men of very great learning; they have been men who have been taught of God, who have been God-fearing, humble, and willing to give unto Him the honor and the glory for all they were able to accomplish. So I desire this morning to possess that same spirit of humility and the Spirit of the Lord, that I may be able to edify the Latter-day Saints for a few moments and to touch upon some points that will be for the benefit of the people in general, or of some of us at any rate.
In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints there is everything I believe, that is necessary for our happiness here upon earth and for our salvation in the future. Within its organization we can find everything to keep our minds occupied, everything to instruct us in every labor of life, and the Spirit of God to guide us in all that we undertake to do. A great many ministers who are not of our faith have made comments upon the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and some of them have remarked that all that was necessary to thwart our purposes and to bring to naught the work that has been set on foot by the Lord was to show up our principles; yet those who make such comments have always been of that class that have never undertaken to expose any one of our principles, they knowing full well that the principles of the Gospel which they have investigated are founded upon Scriptures and upon the word of God. All the comments that I have ever heard or read that our enemies have ever made upon the doctrines of Jesus that they have avoided the direct bringing to light of any one of the principles in which we believe; but they have made incorrect assertions, they have misrepresented us in various ways. This may be because they have not thoroughly understood our motives.
I have in my pocket a slip of paper clipped from the Portland Oregonian of March 28th, giving the opinion of one Mr. Stone, the secretary of the Young Men’s Christian association. His comments are very much of the character I have mentioned. He says that the Mormons who have been members of his association have not been permitted to vote or hold office because they are not considered as Christians. We are excluded from the pale of the Christian churches, as they term it, and therefore our people have been excluded from voting or holding office in that association.
I would like to say a few words upon this matter, inasmuch as the Latter-day Saints are given to joining these various associations and societies that are not part of the Church of Christ. In this city alone we have a great many young Latter-day Saints at least, they are the children of Latter-day Saints who belong to these various associations. Now, we have no objection to people believing as they desire.
At the same time it is our wish that the Latter-day Saints should grow up with a knowledge of the Gospel. First implant the knowledge of the Gospel of Christ within their hearts, and then they cannot be contaminated by error, if they are true and faithful to the principles of that Gospel. In various places throughout the Stakes of Zion we find that the Latter-day Saints have been given to joining secret societies as well as other associations. This is forbidden by the Priesthood of the Son of God. There is all of the brotherhood and all of the insurance, if you please, contained in the Church of Jesus Christ that are necessary for us. It is a fact that there are Latter-day Saints, in Salt Lake City and elsewhere, who cannot find time to attend to their duties in the Priesthood, but do find time to attend to their lodge meetings. We are running wild in this respect. Irreverence for the Priesthood of the Son of God is growing out of this. Those young men who attend lodge meetings and do not attend their Priesthood meetings, what reverence do they have for the Priesthood of the Son of God? They have very little, if any, because they have never learned to reverence that Priesthood.
Our missionaries, whose number has been increased some two hundred in the world during the last year, have also been performing a great work at home. One hundred and forty have been sent out among the Latter-day Saints in the various settlements, to bring in the indifferent and those who have been negligent in their duties, and to try to get them to take a live interest in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and to join the various Improvement Associations. The effect that this corps of missionaries has had upon the people in general has been reported as being very good. Not only the Young Men’s and the Young Ladies’ Mutual Improvement associations, but the various priesthood meetings have been better attended than ever before, or for years before, at any rate. The Presidents of Stakes have reported, in many instances, that the Sabbath schools also have been improved through the work of these brethren, and also that the people have shown a more liberal spirit in the payment of their tithes and donations. They have received a general wakening up in their religion. I have ofttimes wondered how it is that we could afford to send so many missionaries abroad to preach the Gospel, and at the same time neglect our young men and young women here in Zion. When people are converted abroad and are brought to Zion, they see the example of some of the young, and they apostatize on account of that. Therefore, it has been deemed wise by the brethren to send out these missionaries, that they might go into the homes of the Latter-day Saints and teach them the Gospel. We understand that there are a great many quorums of the priesthood that have not been able to discharge their duties as they should have done; the Teachers have not in all cases visited the Saints as they might have done; the Priests have not gone from house to house and expounded the Scriptures as it is their duty to do; and one of the difficulties has been that the members of the various quorums have not had anything to do. Inactivity is death. Wherever there is a body of people upon the face of the earth that has nothing to do, that quorum or body will die spiritually. The Spirit of God will not be with men who are inactive. The Spirit of God is a spirit of progression. Therefore, my brethren and sisters, we can see the necessity of the work that these missionaries have been performing here at home. We cannot deny but that there has been great need of this work. And they have worked just as zealously, for aught I know, and in many cases I know they have as they would have done upon foreign missions. If we could keep those Elders who have returned from missions and the various quorums of the Priesthood at work, there would be little doubt as to the final outcome of this work. We wish to grow at home as well as abroad; not simply send our Elders abroad to preach the Gospel, but also encourage their work here, that the people may have their interest renewed in the Gospel and every man be at work. The organization of the Church of Jesus Christ is so complete that it reaches every man and every woman and every child.
Some things were spoken upon yesterday of a temporal nature that might be taken to heart to good advantage by all of the Latter-day Saints. We cannot separate our temporal salvation from our spiritual salvation. We should be a people who believe in enterprise, in benefiting each other and sustaining each other. There is one thing in connection with this that I would like to mention. There has been too much enmity or jealousy among the Latter-day Saints in relation to things that have been started for the benefit of the people. For instance, we go into a village and we find a blacksmith or a carpenter who has been doing a good work and able to earn a fair wage; perhaps he has become well off. Then our brethren get jealous of that brother because he is progressing, and they will start up a shop of the same kind next door to him, or very near. The result is, the profits have to be divided, and there is not enough for either of them perhaps; whereas, had they gone into something else, they would have been able to assist in the general prosperity. Our people at various times get a mill craze. They get a sawmill craze, or a creamery craze, or something of that kind; and because of their lack of union, they are cutting each other’s throat financially. It appears to me that there is in the organization of the Church of Christ everything necessary for our temporal salvation as well as for our spiritual salvation, and if we would only make use of this beautiful organization, it would not be as we find it today, our people underbidding each other till their contracts are let so low in various places that they are unable to fill them.
Only a short time ago I noted in one of our valleys, which furnished supplies for Fort Duchesne, that on account of their lack of union in temporal affairs, they had underbid each other until the man who had secured the wood contract was unable to fill it, and his bondsmen had to do so. So it is in relation to the grain, and to the flour, and everything that is produced. When the stores made these contracts, the people got the idea that they were making too much money and getting rich, so they went in and underbid each other on government contracts and got them down to such a low figure that they could not possibly afford to deliver at the price contracted for. This is a suggestion, I believe, that it would be well to give consideration in various places. We find that mail contracts in Utah are contracted for, in many instances, by men who do not live in the State. The last ones that were let were awarded to men in Kentucky, and they sublet them to our people, who do the work for less than what their horses’ feed will cost them, if their horses were fed as they should be. Therefore, we do the work and some one else gets the money. These matters pertaining to our temporal welfare, I believe, should be given attention by the Presidents of Stakes. We should not be jealous of our brethren and sisters when we see they are progressing and prospering. We desire that they should do well. We should desire that not only they should do well, but that all Israel should do well, that we may become an independent people, and not be the payers of interest, but receive interest; that we should have money to loan, instead of borrowing and having the shingles mortgaged over our wives and children as they are today in many cases.
I pray that the blessings of God may rest upon this people, that we may be blessed spiritually and temporally; that the power of God may be manifest in this Conference; that the brethren may all speak by the power of the Lord; that His Spirit may be with each and every one of us; that we may take to heart the instructions that are given in this Conference, and carry them to our homes, that this Conference may be the means of refreshing us, as our Conferences always do, to cause us to be a more moral people, a better people in every respect; which may God grant, for Christ’s sake. Amen.
Elder Matthias F. Cowley
Elder Matthias F. Cowley
The hand of God in past and current events-The missionaries abroad-Mutual Improvement work-Peace departing from the earth-Repentance needed.
My brethren and sisters, I desire your kind attention, that I may be able to make you hear. My voice is not very strong, and we are reminded that we must talk loud. I also desire your kind faith and prayers, that the Spirit of the Lord may suggest all that is said.
The work of the Lord is so broad and comprehensive that it meets the requirements of the Saints in all conditions of life and in all places, and it is impossible for us to have any measured instructions, or anything prearranged. We are supposed to speak and to counsel by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and every Latter-day Saint that assembles in this Conference is under obligation to take an active part in the proceedings of the Conference, in the way at least of having his mind clear and free from outside influences, and come here with a desire to be instructed and to receive the word of the Lord through His servants who are called upon to address us. I have rejoiced in the instructions of this Conference thus far. I have a testimony in my heart that every word which has been spoken and every suggestion which has been made is appropriate.
I recognize the hand of the Lord in the events that are occurring in the midst of the Latter-day Saints, and also abroad among the nations of the earth. It was stated yesterday that the Lord had delivered His people from every kind of oppression, so far as we had gone. To my mind, this is a very striking evidence of the divinity of this work and of the divine mission of the Prophet Joseph Smith; and He will deliver His people from every condition that is not as it should be, provided we do our duty. There is nothing more important to the Latter-day Saints than to understand our individual duty and to perform it every day. It is by compliance with the simple and plain obligations that the Gospel enjoins upon us that we are entitled to the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to guide us into all truth and to establish us against every influence that may be brought to bear to destroy our faith and to turn us aside from the path which leads to eternal life.
This is the day of the Lord’s preparation, and the work of preaching the Gospel is being accelerated in the nations of the earth. I have enjoyed myself since our last General Conference in traveling among the Elders of the Southern States, principally, and also touching briefly the mission of Colorado, of the Northern States at Chicago and Cincinnati, and of the Eastern States in the city of New York. I have witnessed a good interest being exhibited by those young Elders who are abroad preaching the Gospel in those sections of the country. And I may say the same of the Northwestern States mission, comprising the states of Oregon, northern Idaho and Washington, where I visited a few days ago in company with Elder John Henry Smith. In all of these missions we have found a good spirit among the Elders; and I am happy to bring this report to the fathers and mothers of the sons and to the wives of their husbands who are abroad preaching the Gospel in the nations of the earth. The Elders usually are contented in their missionary fields. They labor under the influence of that testimony which gives them to understand that their mission upon the earth is to preach the Gospel, to assist in the gathering of Israel and in the establishment of the Church and kingdom of God upon the earth. But one of the causes which lead Elders at times to be homesick is the letters which they get from their people at home. The Latter-day Saints should not in this way discourage those who do us the honor of representing the work of God among the nations of the earth. The letters that are sent abroad by wives, by fathers, by mothers, by brothers, to the Elders that are preaching the Gospel, should be letters of encouragement, and not discouragement. I labored with one Elder many yeas ago, in the state of Virginia, who had a large family of children. His wife was a good Latter-day Saint, with a great deal of faith; and whenever she had any sickness at home, she kept it from the knowledge of her husband until the patient was well, and the Lord blessed her in so doing.
I have read in the newspapers of late the comments of ten ministers of modern Christianity, published in Portland, Oregon, where Brother William Parkinson and his brother were preaching the Gospel. Their comments were on this wise: that the Latter-day Saint Elders were preaching doctrine that was common to Christianity, but the distinctive features of Mormonism were kept in the background. I want to say that there is not a principle in the Gospel that we have espoused that is not distinctive from the religions of the world. There may be a common acceptance of the mission of Christ as the Redeemer of mankind; but the very principle of faith in God and in His Son Jesus Christ is exemplified in the Elders traveling and preaching the Gospel without money and without price, and the faith which they manifest in doing this in the Southern States is a standing rebuke to those who preach for money and divine for hire. People said to Brother Lyman and myself, in the Southern States and elsewhere, “Why, we could not expect that our ministers would do as your Elders do, travel and preach, going on foot from place to place and from house to house, not missing the humblest and the poorest in the land, without remuneration of a financial character.” This is the principle of faith exhibited in these young Elders, and we ought to encourage this principle, and show our faith, when we are called upon to carry the Gospel abroad, by going and performing the duty assigned unto us to the best of the ability with which the Lord shall endow us. The statement was made by the Lord to the Prophet Joseph in the commencement of this Church, and repeated many times in revelations given through him to David Whitmer, to Oliver Cowdery, to Ziba Peterson, and to other men, that the harvest is great and the laborers are few. That statement is true today. Notwithstanding the expansion of the Church, and the thousands of Seventies whose business it is to carry the Gospel and to be especial witnesses of the name of Christ in all the world, and the thousands of Elders from which their ranks can be supplied notwithstanding that, the cry of the presidents of the different missions is for more Elders. I believe that Brother Kelsch, of the Northern States mission, has about 150 Elders in his mission, and says that he could use 500 as well as not. The president of the Northwestern States mission, Brother Parkinson, desires more Elders in that mission; they only have about 18. Brother Elias Kimball says that he could use in the Southern States 1,000 instead of 500. I suppose that a similar testimony could be borne by the presidents of the various missions in Europe and on the Pacific islands. This should inspire us, my brethren and sisters, with a desire that our sons shall acquire a knowledge of the Gospel.
I am glad to see that while this demand exists abroad, there is a corresponding increase of interest at home in the Stakes of Zion, which has been so encouragingly manifest this past winter by the missionary work accomplished by the representatives of the Mutual Improvement Associations, who have been traveling in the various Stakes of Zion, getting right to the hearts of the boys, on the street and elsewhere and endeavoring to show them the propriety of taking an interest in the Gospel, the necessity of laying aside every evil habit, and of cultivating in their hearts the spirit of purity and of righteousness, that they may enjoy the Spirit and power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I understand that many of these young men, through their labors, have developed a marked talent for missionary work, in drawing into the fold of Mutual Improvement young men who had hitherto been indifferent and careless in regard to this work. This missionary talent should be cultivated, developed, and encouraged by the Latter-day Saints wherever it exists. I believe, through their labors, they have added to the Young Men’s Mutual Improvement Associations throughout the Stakes of Zion about thirteen thousand members to those that were already enrolled. This is a glorious work. I have heard reports of the excellent labors of Brother Alphonso Snow, who labored in the Oneida Stake and in parts of Cache Valley. Good reports come from him and his associates in that work. I understand that the Elders who have labored in this Stake and in the southern Stakes of Zion have also accomplished a good work in their efforts among the young men. I rejoice in this. I commend the young men for their work in the cause of Mutual Improvement.
As I said, the Lord is preparing the people. He is also preparing the nations of the earth. I wish to read a passage that comes to my mind before I it down: “And again, verily I say unto you, O inhabitants of the earth, I the Lord am willing to make these things known unto all flesh.”
That is, the things of the Gospel, the revelations of God to the Prophet Joseph Smith, the introduction of a new dispensation and the authority of God established upon the earth to call men to repentance, and to administer by such authority and power that when men are baptized in water they shall receive the remission of their sins, provided they are honest, and they shall have the gift of the Holy Ghost by the imposition of hands. This is the character of the dispensation committed unto us in these last days. The Lord says, “I am willing to make these things known unto all flesh.” He has been making them known for the last sixty-eight years. He has been placing the people under greater obligations by sending the glad tidings of eternal life, and it has been, to a great extent, rejected, although now the barriers that have been established and maintained by the priestcraft of the world and by other influences have, to some extent, been broken down, until the Elders are reaching the honest in heart and bringing many of them to a knowledge of the truth. The revelation continues: “For I am no respecter of persons, and will that all men shall know that the day speedily cometh; the hour is not yet, but is at hand, when peace shall be taken from the earth, and the devil shall have power over his own dominion; And also the Lord shall have power over His Saints, and shall reign in their midst, and shall come down in judgment upon Idumea, or the world.”
Now, peace, to some extent, is being taken from the nations of the earth. There are rumors of wars in the land. There is agitation among the nations of the earth. These things have been predicted by the prophets of God, and I testify that every prophecy that has been uttered by the Prophet Joseph Smith, so far as the wheels of time have brought it due, has been verified to the letter, as much so as any prophecy that was ever uttered by Moses, or by Isaiah, or by any of the ancient prophets of the living God. War will be poured out upon the nations of the earth; and it shall come to pass among the wicked that every man that will not take up his sword against his neighbor must needs flee unto Zion for safety. There shall be gathered unto Zion out of every nation under heaven, and it shall be the only people that shall not be at war one with another. If there is anyone that doubts the inspiration of the Prophet Joseph, I want them to read that prophecy, and to remember that the day will come when the people on this land of Zion will be the only people that shall not be at war one with another, and that the day will come when those that will not fight against their neighbors will take up their flight to Zion, that they may find a place of safety. This prophecy agrees with the prophecy contained in the 4th chapter of Isaiah and also in the 13th chapter of Isaiah, where he speaks of the judgments of God that shall come upon the wicked, and that there shall be desolation among the children of men, because of their pride, their haughtiness, and their wickedness.
Brethren and sisters, judgments begin at the house of the Lord. Let us, therefore, repent of our sins, repent of our folly, of our pride, of our hypocrisy, our inconsistency and our self-righteousness in sitting in judgment upon others, while in our own hearts there are faults and in our own eyes there are many beams. I rejoice, my brethren and sisters, in this work. I have a testimony of its truth. I am glad to say that we are not idle in our ministry; that we rejoice in our labors; that we are desirous of being a benefit and a blessing to the Latter-day Saints, that they may profit by the ministration of the servants of God. I bear to you my testimony of the truth of this work. I bear to my young brethren a testimony concerning this work and the divine mission of the Prophet Joseph Smith. To the young people especially I say, if you will take interest in this work, if you will seek unto God, in humble prayer, and peruse the Book of Mormon with a prayerful heart and these other revelations of God, you shall receive a testimony of the truth, and you shall know for yourselves that this is the work of God, and that it has come to stay, to extend abroad, and to establish itself throughout the nations of the earth. May God bless you, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Elder Brigham Young
Elder Brigham Young
The spirit of the world opposed to salvation-The spirit of war abroad and of peace in Zion.
It is a time of rejoicing with the Latter-day Saints; for God has been merciful unto us as a people and as individuals we have been blessed and there has been no time in the history of the Church when we had greater cause to serve the Lord than this day. I am aware of the fact that there are forces exercised in behalf of the Church of Christ, and also that opposition is beginning to rear itself again more visibly than we have experienced for several years. Everything that has been spoken here in this Tabernacle yesterday and today has full force and is true, according to the ideas that I have; and every prophecy of God contained in the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants and the Bible, and also the oral instructions we receive, will be fulfilled. God is directing His servants in establishing His work upon the earth. There are obligations resting upon us that other people deride, scoff at, and treat as a thing of naught, when those very obligations prompt us to use our means, our time, and every energy of our natures in the labor of saving souls. Yet the world oppose us in this, and do not love us, because the spirit of the world is opposed to salvation, wealthy and poor, the high and low, the brethren and sisters in this Church are gathering treasures; they are laying up treasures; they are banking with our Father and God. No matter who they are, the deposits are being made, and the books are kept correctly. The debit and the credit is there, and we cannot escape it. Revelation has been given to us and great favors shown, for a particular and a distinct purpose, because God has chosen us out of the world, and they do not love us. But a work is given unto this people designed to benefit every human being that has lived or that lives upon the earth. It is not confined to the few millions that dwell upon the earth today, but it extends into the spirit world. I care not what we say or what we do, it will be to our own exaltation or to our own condemnation. The night will come when no man can work. But the day is given to us in which we labor. I find in my immediate circle of relatives and friends that which I witness among the people a desire to do right. “Oh! I want to do good; I want to live my religion.” But we do not live it. It has been said that that lower place is paved with good intentions. We do not live our religion. Need this people to be beholden to any race of men, to capitalists, to business men, to combinations, to trusts, or to any society outside of their own limits? No. There is a magnificent whole, complete in every particular planted in the midst of this people, which is unassailable, only so far as we admit the enemy in our hearts. The only vulnerable place in our armor is where we ourselves leave it exposed, because God has armed us at all points. He has made us impervious to outside attacks. But when we boil inside, destruction waits upon us.
What are the signs of the times? All people will be at war, save the people in Zion. What will preserve the people in Zion? When Brother Cowley read a portion of that revelation in relation to this matter, I asked myself the question, what will make peace in Zion? Is it because we find disunion here, because we strew our ways to strangers, or are in debt, or harassed upon every side, or we yield to temptation, or we affiliate with those who will turn and rend us? Will this bring peace to Zion while all shall be at war around us? Oh, no! We all know that peace will be here because God has given it for the righteousness of His people, the union of His sons and daughters, to whom He has delegated the greatest work ever committed to men upon the earth. That is why peace will be in Zion. It occurred to me to read a few verses from the Book of Mormon in relation to this matter. Lehi, speaking to his family, says:
“For, behold, he said, I have seen a vision, in which I know that Jerusalem is destroyed; and had we remained in Jerusalem, we should also have perished.
“But, he said, notwithstanding our afflictions, we have obtained a land of promise, a land which is choice above all other lands; a land which the Lord God hath covenanted with me should be a land for the inheritance of my seed. Yea, the Lord hath covenanted this land unto me, and to my children for ever; and also all those who should be led out of other countries by the hand of the Lord.
“Wherefore, I, Lehi, prophesy according to the workings of the Spirit which is in me, that there shall none come into this land, save they shall be brought by the hand of the Lord.
“Wherefore, this land is consecrated unto him whom he shall bring. And if it so be that they shall serve him according to the commandments which he hath given, it shall be a land of liberty unto them; wherefore, they shall never be brought down into captivity; if so, it shall be because of iniquity; for if iniquity shall abound, cursed shall be the land for their sakes; but unto the righteous it shall be blessed for ever.”
Will these words come true? Do we see today the fulfillment of the promises of Lehi, a man who led his family, under the hand of God, to this land which is choice above all other lands, for the purpose of establishing a people here who should, under the providences of God, write these writings, deliver these prophecies, hide up this volume, to come forth in the latter days to a people who should be established upon this land, and who should bring the Gospel to the seed of Lehi and spread it abroad to the nations of the earth; who should gather upon the land of Zion, and have peace and joy, though mourning over the tribulations of their brethren? Peace shall reign in Zion if we are righteous. But if iniquity abound here, where is peace promised to the Latter-day Saints in that event? I know of no place or refuge upon the earth that will not be affected when iniquity abounds in the hearts of the sons of our Father. Is that not so?
“And behold, it is wisdom that this land should be kept as yet from the knowledge of other nations; for behold, many nations would overrun the land, that there would be no place for an inheritance.”
And Lehi goes on to prophesy in relation to this matter.
We are threatened with a war. The nations of the earth are threatened with war. Turmoil and confusion are in our own land. We are strewing our ways to strangers. Your sons and my sons are joining with those who are not of our faith, and I testify that it is a source of infidelity in the minds of those who do these things. God will have a people that will serve Him, and they will be a righteous people, and the land will be blessed; for I testify to you this day that Zion will be weeded, the iniquitous acts of men will bring their own destruction, and Zion will be cleansed before this great and dreadful day comes when war shall be among all nations, and in Zion there shall be peace.
God give us grace to understand the signs of the times, and to know that we have no time to spare; that the time is now when we must prepare ourselves, that when those who desire peace flee unto us they will not find us wanting, but the faith and power of God will be in the midst of the people, to the salvation of every soul that seeks to dwell in peace and serve God in an undisturbed manner. May grace abound in our hearts, and peace be in our homes, in the hearts of our wives and children; and may we set our faces as a flint to serve God with undivided hearts, is my prayer in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Elder Brigham H. Roberts
Elder Brigham H. Roberts
Great cause for serving the Lord-Righteousness brings peace-The war spirit among the nations.
My brethren and sisters, with you I have rejoiced exceedingly in the services of this Conference, and my heart has been made glad by reason of the outpouring of the Spirit of God upon His servants. I have felt for myself very much encouraged by the words that have been spoken, and have felt reproved when reproof has been administered. I rejoice that my spirit has been so far responsive to the spirit manifested through our brethren who have ministered unto us. Great truths have been spoken; great testimonies, far reaching in their effects in the earth, have been delivered; and it does seem to me that the voice of warning is being sounded through this Conference to the nations of the earth.
While the brethren were speaking this morning the following passage in the Doctrine and Covenants came very forcibly to my mind. It is found in the 88th section. The Lord addresses the revelation to His servants who were engaged in the ministry, and it contains instructions to them; and in this particular part the Lord said:
“Abide ye in the liberty wherewith ye are made free; entangle not yourselves in sin, but let your hands be clean, until the Lord come;
“For not many days hence and the earth shall tremble and reel to and fro as a drunken man, and the sun shall hide his face, and shall refuse to give light, and the moon shall be bathed in blood and the stars shall become exceeding angry, and shall cast themselves down as a fig that falleth from off a fig tree.
“And after your testimony cometh wrath and indignation upon the people, for after your testimony cometh the testimony of earthquakes, that shall cause groanings in the midst of her, and men shall fall upon the ground, and shall not be able to stand.
“And also cometh the testimony of the voice of thunderings, and the voice of lightnings, and the voice of tempests, and the voice of the waves of the sea, heaving themselves beyond their bounds.
“And all things shall be in commotion; and surely, men’s hearts shall fail them; for fear shall come upon all people.”
This revelation was given in the year 1832 66 years ago; and has been God’s voice unto the nations of the earth. If it was wisdom in Him so long ago to place upon record this His word, how much more important it is, after the lapse of more than half a century, that it should be repeated, and especially in view of the commotion that exists among the children of men, when great dynasties seem to be crumbling to pieces, and when nations have been arming and equipping themselves for war, and when there is evidence of the elements being disturbed, and when by experience the inhabitants of the earth may know that destructive elements may sweep over the land at the will of God.
I wish to bear testimony to you that the testimony of the Spirit of God to my heart is that there is a wonderful significance in the opening of the way for the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ among the nations. The Lord hath softened the hearts of the children of men, and in fulfillment of the prediction of His servant, President, Prophet, Seer and Revelator of the Church of Christ, hath broken down the barriers and opened up pathways for the servants of God, that they might cry repentance unto this generation, and that the warning might be sounded in their ears before judgment shall be poured out upon them. The Lord in this generation hath not left Himself without witness unto the children of men. He has not only given this word that I have read to you, for His servants to make proclamation of among the inhabitants of the earth; but He has gathered together a people from every land, brought here by the proclamation of this warning message, and hath in this manner builded a monument of warning unto this generation. It seems to me that He has taken more pains to proclaim unto the present generation of men the judgments that are in store for them than He did in the days of Noah; for if the teachings of Noah and the building of an ark were a witness unto that generation of the destruction that was threatened, surely the gathering together of this people, together with every temple that they have erected, and every mighty Conference that they have held, is God’s witness and voice unto the inhabitants of the earth that the controversy He hath with them is most surely to take place.
I want to bear my testimony to you, in connection with my brethren, that the Gospel is true; that there is virtue and power in the work of God, and that my confidence in its accomplishing that which hath been decreed concerning it is most supreme. And I would, if I could, join with you all in sounding this warning unto the inhabitants of the earth, that the hour of God’s judgment is at hand; and He is vindicating His word and hath given unto the people due warning and an opportunity to repent. I trust that He will continue to do so continue to soften the hearts of the children of men and to leave open the gateway to their hearts until this work of warning shall be thoroughly completed to His own great satisfaction. I ask it in the name of Jesus. Amen.
The hymn which begins,
For the strength of the hills we bless Thee,
Our God, our fathers’ God,
was sung by the choir.
Benediction by Elder George Reynolds.
Second Day-Afternoon Session
Second Day-Afternoon Session
Singing by the choir and congregation of the hymn which begins,
Our God, we raise to Thee
Thanks for Thy blessings free
We here enjoy.
Prayer by Elder David H. Cannon.
The choir sang:
Glory to God on high;
let heaven and earth reply,
Praise ye His name.
President Wilford Woodruff
President Wilford Woodruff
Strange personal experiences-Preserved by the revelations and power of God-Incidents of a remarkable ministry-Great change coming over the earth-The work of God progressing.
[At President Woodruff’s request, President Cannon read the 1st Section of the Book of Doctrine and Covenants.]
I want the attention and the prayers of the Saints who have assembled upon this occasion. I have been sick and very weak in my body for a month past, and did not feel that I would be able to attend this Conference till the day before it opened. I have been blessed in this respect to be with you. I desire to say some things to you, and perhaps some strange things, too. I feel disposed to say something about myself, to give you a little of the history of my life, because of what I may want to say, before I get through, to the rising generation of Israel. My remarks may be very eccentric to any but Latter-day Saints, and to them also, I expect. I suppose when I was born the devil knew what I should be called to do; for there has been from the day I was born until the present two powers with me one to kill me, the other to save me. I stand before you today a pretty sound-looking, for a man ninety-one years of age. I stand before you with a body in which almost every bone has been broken except my back and neck. I have had through my life a power after me to take my life. When I was about three years old I was pushed into a caldron of boiling water, which had just been taken off the fire. My grandmother took me out, and my skin all dropped off excepting off my head and feet. I was wrapped up for months in cotton and oil. That was the beginning of my troubles. When I was twelve years of age I was drowned; at any rate, I lay in thirty feet of water long enough to drown anyone. After several unsuccessful attempts, I was brought up out of the water. This was under the Farmington mill dam. I was just as dead as I shall be thirty years hence. I lay on my back and saw the sun go out, and passed through all the sensations of death that any man would in drowning. After an hour’s labor, I was brought around to life again. I shall not go into the particulars of many of these things, but I have passed through what may be termed death a number of times in my life. When I was 15 years old I was in one of those Connecticut blizzards. I walked four miles through a wood into the open country, and I sought some place where I could hide from the storm and rest. There was but one house within a mile of me that was the poor house, which was about twenty-five rods away. The man was moved upon to go up in his garret to get some pennyroyal to give to a sick woman, and he felt led to look out of the window. He saw me crawling into the hollow of a big tree. He knew what the result of that would be better than I did. He took his horse and sleigh and came to me, and when he got there I was asleep, and he preserved my life. When I was 14 years old I was bit by a mad dog, and ought to have died; but I did not. So I continued on, until I can say that I have broken both of my legs, one twice; broken both of my arms, breast bone, several ribs, and altogether been through a pretty hard experience for a man who had to be called to preach the Gospel, at least. I was a miller by trade. I have been in two water wheels under full head of water, and I suppose I ought to have been killed in either of them, but I was not hurt.
That preserving power has followed me all the way through my life. It has been with me upon my missions abroad as well as at home. It has followed me until the present day, and I have been placed in a great many strange places.
I was ordained to dedicate this Salt Lake Temple fifty years before it was dedicated. I knew I should live to dedicate that Temple. I did live to do it. I had a great desire in my boyhood to receive the Gospel of Christ, to see a prophet or somebody that could teach me the Gospel of Christ as taught by the ancient Apostles and as I read of in the New Testament. I desired this with every sentiment of my heart, and on the first Gospel sermon I ever heard I was baptized, with my oldest brother. I immediately went to Kirtland. I was in Zion’s Camp with the Prophet of God. I saw the dealings of God with him. I saw the power of God with him. I saw that he was a Prophet. What was manifest to him by the power of God upon that mission was of great value to me and to all who received his instructions. I will refer to one instance. A short time before we landed in Missouri Joseph called the camp together. He there prophesied unto us, and told us what lay before us. He gave us the reason why chastisement was before us. He says: “You consider me a boy with the rest of you. You have not realized my position before the Lord. But there is a chastisement before this camp.” He told us that this would come upon us because he had not been obeyed in his counsels. In one hour after we landed in Missouri and pitched our tents at Mr. Burkett’s, one man began to fail here, another there, and in a few moments we had a dozen of our camp stretched upon blankets with the cholera. The Prophet of God, when he saw this, felt to sympathize with them, and he and Hyrum laid their hands upon Brother Carter, the first man that was taken sick, but as soon as they did it they were seized themselves, and they both had to leave the camp. He said afterwards: “I told you what was coming to pass, and when affliction came I stretched out my hand to stay it, and I came very near falling by it myself.” That mission was very interesting to me.
I want to say here that in all my life since joining this Church and kingdom, notwithstanding these powers that have been with me to kill me, I have always had the revelations of God with me. That is something I want to talk about to Israel before I get through. The power of God has told me what to do and what not to do. While the devil has had power to afflict my body very seriously, there has been a power with me that has saved me through it all. And, whenever I have had the Holy Spirit with me to tell me what to do, I have had to do that. By that I have been saved. By listening to that still small voice I am here today with you. There are two reasons why I am here today. When I went back after the pioneer journey, President Young said he wanted me to take my family and go to Boston, and stay there till I could gather all the Saints of God in New England and Canada and bring them to Zion. That was the mission he gave me on my return from the pioneer journey to Winter Quarters. I went in the spring, as he told me, and took my family. We came one evening to one of the brethren’s houses in Indiana. Several of us were there. Orson Hyde had a team as well as myself. We drove into a long yard. I set my carriage within six inches of his. I had my wife and children with me. I tied my animals to an oak tree on the other side of where we camped. I went to bed in my carriage. As I laid down, the Spirit of the Lord told me to get up and move my carriage. I did not ask the Lord what He meant. I did as I was told. The same Spirit told me to go and move my animals away from that tree. I did that. My wife asked me why I did it. I told her I did not know. I had not been in bed twenty minutes when there came a whirlwind and took that oak tree, which had stood there perhaps fifty years, split it right through the trunk, and it swept through both of those fences where my carriage had stood. It never touched Brother Hyde’s carriage, but it would have crushed me and my family to the earth if I had not listened to the voice of the Spirit. After spending two years and a half in New England and Canada, getting the Saints out, I started back with the last lot, about a hundred, from Boston. We landed in Pittsburg at dusk. We were anxious not to stay there, but to go on to St. Louis. I saw a steamer making steam ready to go out. I went to the captain and asked him how many passengers he had. “Three hundred and fifty.” “Could you take another hundred?” “Yes.” I was just about to tell him we wanted to go aboard when that Spirit said to me, “Don’t go aboard that steamer, you nor your company.” All right, said I. I had learned something about that still, small voice. I did not go aboard that steamer, but waited till the next morning. In thirty minutes after that steamer left, it took fire. It had ropes instead of wheel chains, and they could not go ashore. It was a dark night, and not a soul was saved. If I had not obeyed the influence of that monitor within me, I would have been there myself, with the rest of the company. The Thirteenth ward would not have had an Atwood for a Bishop; the Church would not have had a Leonard W. Hardy as Bishop. They were both with me, and their families, including Brother Samuel Hardy, who is in St. George now, upwards of ninety years old. I never disobeyed that Spirit but once in my life; I did it then through the urgency of other persons, and it nearly cost me my life. I have been acquainted with this Spirit. It was not the blow of trumpets nor thunder and lightning; it was the still small voice to me. All the way from my boyhood I have been governed and controlled by that Spirit. My missions have been by that Spirit of revelation. I was told to go to Fox Islands by that same still small voice. In the time of the great apostasy in Kirtland the Spirit of the Lord said to me, “Get you a partner and go to Fox Islands.” I knew no more what was in Fox Islands than what was in Kolob. I went there, however, baptized a hundred and brought them up to Zion with me. It was upon that Island where I received a letter from Joseph Smith, telling me that I was called by revelation to fill the place of one of the Twelve who had fallen. You will see it in the Doctrine and Covenants. That thing was revealed to me before I received the letter from Joseph Smith, but I did not feel disposed to tell it to any mortal man, for I knew it was my duty to keep such things to myself. Through all my life and labors, whenever I have been told to do anything by the Spirit of the Lord, I have always found it good to do it. I have been preserved by that power. That power was with me when I went to Herefordshire. I was preaching every night with Brother Cordon, and one night we held a meeting in the town hall at Hanley, in Staffordshire. The Spirit that still small voice said to me, “This is the last meeting you will hold with this people for many days.” I told the Congregation so when I got up. They were very much astonished, and asked me where I was going. I told them I did not know. After, I went to ask the Lord what he wanted of me, and He told me to go to the south. That was all the answer I got. I took the stage and rode eighty miles south. The first man’s house I went into was John Benbow’s. I had not been in his house fifteen minutes till I understood why the Lord had sent me there. There was a people broken off from the Wesleyan Methodists, who had banded together and called themselves United Brethren. They were watching for the coming of the Son of Man, watching for the Gospel of Christ, as they read of it in the New Testament. The first thirty days after I got there I brought into the Church some two thousand, with fifty ministers, and all their chapels, licensed according to law, were in my hands. There was no blowing of trumpets about that. The Spirit of the Lord told me to go there, and when I got there I saw why I was sent.
That is, perhaps, enough to say about those things. Now, I want to say to this congregation, to the young men of Israel, to the Elders of Israel, to all our missionaries, the day has come when the God of heaven requires at my hands, as the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, to say unto you, it is the will of God for you to take this course. Get the Spirit of God before you go on your missions or anywhere else. Get the spirit of revelation with you. And when you get that you are safe, and you will do exactly what the Lord wants you to do. I have felt strongly impressed to say that to this Conference. What can you do without revelation? We cannot do the will of God and accomplish what is required of us without it. We will make no mistakes if we pursue that course. That spirit is with the Apostles, and with the Elders of Israel who are true and faithful. The rising generation should labor to obtain the Spirit of God. Get it within you and it will be a continual monitor with you.
That is one reason brethren and sisters, why my life has been preserved. I will tell you another reason. Of course, this is my own reason for it. One reason why I am here is because the Lord has chosen the weak things of this world to preach the Gospel, to do His work, to build up His kingdom. I do not think He has ever had a weaker instrument on earth to work through than myself. The Almighty has known that never for a minute since I have been a member of this Church have I had any power to take any honor or glory to myself with regard to anything that I have been enabled to do in the work of the ministry or elsewhere. Why? Because I have known it has come from God, and not from me. And no other man who has engaged in this work has had any power of himself. This Power has come from God unto us, whereby we have been enabled to do the work He has required at our hands.
There is a change coming over the earth; there is a change coming over the Christian world; and it is at our door. You read the revelations in the Bible, in the Book of Mormon and in the Doctrine and Covenants appertaining to our day and the generation before the coming of the Son of Man. War! Yes; war is one of the troubles that belong to the generation in which we live. It will come to pass, and no power beneath the heavens can stay it. Who cannot open their eyes and see the change in the things around us? Read these revelations the revelation just read by Brother Cannon, and the others in these books. The God of heaven has set His hand to carry out these great purposes that you read of. They are as sure to come to pass as that God lives. There is no power on earth, nor beneath the earth, nor anywhere else, that can stay the fulfillment of these things. And they are at our doors.
I am anxious that the Latter-day Saints shall round up their shoulders and bear off the kingdom of God. Many in the world have labored to try the overthrow Mormonism. They have driven our people from their lands. They have persecuted and afflicted us. They have put some to death, for the word of God and testimony of Jesus. But they have not thwarted the purposes of God in any of these things. The Lord, in His mercy and wisdom, has led this people to these valleys of the mountains. It is ordained of God that Zion is to be established here. Here is the Tabernacle that the Prophet spoke of as a covering from the storm and the wind, etc. These temples are here in fulfillment of prophecy. We have four of them in this State. President Young was honored of God in the establishment of these things. He lived long enough to dedicate the corner stone of this Temple on this block, into which the Latter-day Saints go and deliver their friends who are in the prison house, and attend to the ordinances of the house of God for them, in fulfillment of the ancient Prophets, who spake as they were moved upon by the Holy Ghost, to the effect that saviors should be raised up on Mount Zion in the latter days while the kingdom is the Lord’s. Zion has got to arise.
“Sing, O heavens; and be joyful, O earth; and break forth into singing. O mountains; for the Lord hath comforted His people, and will have mercy upon His afflicted.
“But Zion said, The Lord hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me.
“Can a woman forget her suckling child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee.
“Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me.” (Isaiah, 49: 13-16.)
All that has been spoken concerning Zion will come to pass, and you and I today are witnesses of these things.
We are here for salvation and eternal life. We are here to obtain those great blessings which Saints of God in every age of the world have obtained when they have obeyed the commandments of God. Shall we fall? No, we shall not if we do our duty. The Gospel is just as good today as it was in the days of the Savior. As to the glorious blessings of the Gospel of Christ, they have been unpopular in almost every age of the world. Take Christ Himself: where was there a more unpopular man than the Savior of the world in His day? And His Apostles were unpopular. They were put to death for the word of God and testimony of Jesus Christ. Nevertheless, Christ was the Son of God; and the Sadducees, the Pharisees, the Essenes, and all the sects that warred against Him were cursed and many of them were cast down to hell, while He remains as the Savior of the world, and received the honor and the glory which His Father had ordained for Him. I want our young people especially to remember these things. Those who are going upon missions must not neglect them. Unless you have the Holy Ghost with you when you go out to preach the Gospel, you cannot do your duty; but when you have that you are safe, go where you will, and your words will have their effect in the hearts of the honest and meek of the earth.
Brethren and sisters, I feel to thank God that we are as well off as we are. I feel to thank God that we are in the position we occupy in these valleys of the mountains. Here is a safe place. While in the dedication of that Temple I saw the judgments of God that were about to be poured out upon this generation. They will come to pass. I read the other night of a terrible flood. Who ever heard of such a flood in America before? These floods, and troubles and tribulations are increasing in the earth, and they will increase until this scene is wound up. I pray God my Heavenly Father to bless you all, to inspire our hearts, that the vision of our minds may be open to comprehend the position we are in and the responsibility we are under. The eyes of all heaven and earth and hell are over us. The eyes of the devils are over us. They labor for our destruction; but they have not power to do it. We are in the hands of God. He holds the keys of the destinies of the inhabitants of the earth, and He will bless the righteous, no matter who they are nor where they are. I am thankful to listen to the teachings that I have heard at this Conference from the Elders of Israel. I rejoice in the progress that has been made during the past year in the Church abroad. There has been an addition to the Church that we have never met with in any other year since the organization of this Church. And here at home there has been a great addition. Our sisters have labored faithfully in the Primary Associations, in the Mutual Improvement associations, and in every capacity in which they are called to labor. The blessings of God are with them, and they are doing much good. The Sunday schools have also added to their numbers. They have now over one hundred thousand members. The Young Men’s Mutual Improvement Associations, as has been said, have an addition of about thirteen thousand as a result of their labors the past year. God is blessing those who labor among them. If you can save a soul from death, what blessings you will have with that soul. As the Lord said to Oliver Cowdery, “If it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father.” We should continue in this labor, that we may gain the salvation of the souls of men. Inasmuch as you will do this, the blessings of God will attend you. Zion has got to arise or fall. Which shall it be? The proclamation of the Gospel of Christ is in favor of Zion. All the revelations appertaining to this day are in favor of Zion, and of preparing the way for the coming of the Son of Man. And Zion will arise and shine.
God bless you, one and all. Let us do our duty and seek to magnify our religion, that when we get through we will rejoice in that. It is better to be on the Lord’s side than anywhere else. I want salvation. I want to meet my forefathers and my friends whom I have labored here to redeem, who never heard the Gospel in their day and generation. God has given us this privilege. We have Elders of Israel laboring in all these temples day by day for the salvation of the children of men. We have been blessed in this labor, and we will continue to be blessed; and when we get on the other side of the veil there is not one of us but will rejoice for the good we have done. May God bless you. I feel to bless the Latter-day Saints, as far as I have power to bless. Our daughters and our mothers are laboring for the salvation of Israel in their line, and so are the Elders of Israel in their line. But we want to increase and continue to increase, until we have power in the earth to gather up all the honest and meek of the earth. God bless, guide and direct us all in the path of truth and righteousness, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.
At the conclusion of his remarks the vast congregation arose en masse and in unison with the choir, sang:
We thank Thee, O God, for a Prophet,
To guide us in these latter days.
President George Q. Cannon
President George Q. Cannon
Providential preservation of President Woodruff-The Church controlled by the power of God-He vindicates His servants-Trouble results from disunion-Selfishness defeats itself-The Church will be cleansed.
The instructions that we have heard during this Conference have been accompanied by the testimony of the Spirit of God, and I esteem it as a great privilege that we have had this afternoon of listening to the testimony of President Woodruff. If we have not all heard that which he has said, we shall have the opportunity of reading it. I think it ought to be esteemed as a great pleasure and satisfaction for the Latter-day Saints to hear his testimony. President Woodruff is the only surviving Apostle who held the Apostleship at the time the Prophet Joseph lived. He is the only man living who received his endowments at the hands of the Prophet Joseph. He is the only Apostle living who entered this valley when it was penetrated by the Pioneers. To have him survive as long as he has, and to stand as a witness in the midst of this people, is a great boon to the Church. There has been, without doubt, a providence in his preservation. The Lord has had a purpose to accomplish. His testimony, which has so often been borne and listened to by the members of this Church will have a lasting impression and influence upon the Church. I am, therefore, for one, greatly pleased to hear him once more address a congregation so large as this at our General Conference. If we had been asked years ago as to who would be likely of the Apostles to survive until now, we perhaps would not have selected President Woodruff, because he was a man advanced in years, and, as he has related to us today, had passed through so many scenes of trial and had labored so hard physically, and had so many narrow escapes for his life, that it seemed almost impossible that he would survive all the others. But, as he has told us, upwards of fifty years ago, while in Boston on a mission, the Lord revealed to him concerning this Temple.
He has not related that which I have heard him speak of at other times. There was a discussion concerning the material of which this Temple should be built. Some of the brethren advocated one material, and some another; and it looked as though it would not be built of granite. But President Woodruff had seen it in granite, and he knew while this discussion was in progress that when the Temple was built it would be built of that material. He also had dreams before the Temple was finished concerning the duty that had been assigned to him. The keys of the Temple had been given to him by President Young, and he was told to open the Temple, so that the people might go in.
Under all the circumstances, has there not been a providence in this? Our God does not permit things of this importance to happen haphazard, and without His overruling power and providence being manifested. He has selected His servants, and He has assigned them their labors; and He will preserve them from accidents and from death until they shall accomplish that which they have been sent to perform to fulfill the mission that has been given unto them. There is no such thing as accident in these matters. It is not by chance that these occurrences happen; but there is a providence which the Lord exercises over His people and over the affairs of His Church, and over all things that happen. They are controlled by His power for the accomplishment of His purposes. He gives unto us our agency, and that agency we can exercise to the fullest extent. There is no limit placed upon it. It is contrary to His mind and will and to the plan of salvation that there should be a limit placed upon man’s agency or upon its exercise. But He controls the results. As President Young so often told us, He controls affairs so as to bring to pass His purposes and His designs; and there is no power that can prevail against Him and the fulfillment of His purposes. He supplements man’s weakness, man’s shortsightedness and man’s inability by His strength, foreknowledge and almighty power. These men whom He has chosen to be His Apostles are weak, fallible men.
As President Woodruff has told us, the Lord has chosen the weak things of the world, that they might not glory in themselves nor in their own strength; and the man that does claim the glory takes steps to destroy his influence and to lose his power and gifts. The Lord will not bless men who seek to take the glory to themselves. These men are fallible, and subject to all the infirmities of human nature; but God has chosen them, and when they do the best they can, seeking to Him for His Spirit, He inspires them; and where they come short He makes it up by His blessing. That which would seem to the natural eye to be a mistaken course or policy He overrules and controls for His glory. That has been the course in this Church from the beginning. The men that have instructed the people, from Joseph himself down through all the ranks of the Priesthood, have been fallible men; their judgment has been imperfect; their conclusions have perhaps not always been as they should have been; but if they have acted according to the light they had and the Spirit that God has given them, and they have sought the Lord for His blessing and guidance, then He takes charge after that and He brings to pass according to His own good will and pleasure, and His power and wisdom are manifested in that which takes place, so that we are perfectly safe. If it were not for this, we would be appalled at the responsibility that rests upon us. Any man who feels the weight of responsibility and thinks of the dreadful consequences that might attend a misstep, could not endure it if there were not something behind him to sustain and buoy him up. President Woodruff could not stand under the pressure of the responsibility upon him, neither could any other man who may be near him or connected with the Apostleship and the Priesthood.
But there is this reflection all the time: God can be trusted. God will see to it that His servants are not put to shame; that they do not become a spectacle in the midst of the people before the Saints or before the world. He has never left His servants at any time. God be thanked this day for this! He has never allowed them to be covered with shame and confusion through failure. But He has sustained them, and He has borne them off victorious, under all circumstances, when they have served Him and appealed to His Holy Spirit to guide them. And He will do it from this time forth until the Lord Himself comes to reign on the earth. This will be the result if we continue to serve Him. Hence it is that the people are required by the Lord with these evidences before them of what God has done and the predictions that have been fulfilled to listen to the voice of His servants, to accept their counsels, to seek for His word through them, because He has given them power and the authority, standing in His stead in the midst of the people, with the full weight of responsibility upon them. Let me ask this congregation, can you put your finger on a time when the people of this Church have listened to the counsel of the servants of God that they have had reason to repent of it? You all know that no such thing has ever occurred. In every instance, in the deepest peril, under the most trying and dark circumstances, when the people have listened to counsel God has delivered them and brought them through safely. This you all know. Hence it is that God designs and desires that His Saints shall listen to the voice of revelation, to the voice of His Prophet, to the voice of men whom He has called to act in His stead in the midst of the people. And great condemnation will fall upon those who do not do this.
Of all people upon the face of the earth we should be the most united. In union is our strength. But we are not united as we should be. And it is this that brings trouble to us. The disunion of the people is the source of all our trouble. The Lord desires to have us a united people, the people that will listen to His voice. And what does this mean? Does it mean tyranny? Does it mean oppression? Does it mean the taking away of any human being’s rights? Does it encroach upon the liberty of any soul? No, it does not. It never has. It never will, because the Priesthood of the Son of God is not a tyrant. The operations of that Priesthood are beneficent under all circumstances. Look at the prosperity of this people. See how God has blessed them when they have listened to counsel and been guided aright. All our prosperity is traceable to this. Our misfortunes are traceable to our disobedience and neglect. Everyone knows this that has any faith whatever in the work of God. There is nothing asked of any man that he cannot do with the utmost pleasure and with the freest exercise of his agency. It has been so from the beginning, and it will be so to the end.
We were told this morning, by Brother A. O. Woodruff, of the division there is among the people in many directions. It is a pitiable sight that among the Latter-day Saints there should be such things, such division, such selfishness, such injury done by one to another. It is wrong, and we should avoid it. It is contrary to the will of God that we should be in this condition. We grieve His Holy Spirit when we yield to this spirit that divides us and arrays us one against another. We ought to understand that selfishness defeats itself; that God will bless men who love His work and love their fellow men, and who do not allow selfishness to predominate in their hearts. That has to be extinguished among the Latter-day Saints, if we ever would be the people that God has said we shall be. I believe the Lord will weed out from our midst all who contribute to this division among the people of God and who will not dismiss these evil influences. Unless we are a united people we will not prosper temporally; we cannot prosper spiritually. We must love the Lord with all our heart, and we must love our brethren as we do ourselves. If we do not attain to that we cannot reach the standard He has raised for us. I do not expect that any of us will get into the celestial kingdom until we have this Spirit and are imbued with it and carry it out literally in all our associations and dealings with our fellow men until, in fact, we shall be a united people, living in the United Order, which must be established before the reign of righteousness can be ushered in.
We come to these General Conferences to be instructed in these principles, to have our minds refreshed, to hear the testimony of the servants of God, and we ought to go away impressed with these principles, and profiting by them sufficiently that we will make them a part of our lives. We have been called as Latter-day Saints. By the miraculous power of God we have been gathered from the nations of the earth. It is the greatest miracle, it may be said, that ever was seen by the human family. It is stupendous. It is something unexampled in the history of our race. And there is a grand purpose in it, which God has revealed. He is gathering from the nations of the earth the elements that are necessary to lay the foundation for a new era, to prepare the way for the coming of the Lord, for the establishment of the reign of righteousness. Yet, notwithstanding the nations behold it, Satan darkens their eyes so that they cannot see its grand import. But to us the Lord has revealed this. And there is this remarkable fact connected with this: almost every man and woman that comes from the nations has, himself and herself, received a testimony that they ought to do this. They have done it under a divine impulse; not by any human force that has been brought to bear upon them, but by an inward force that has appealed to their souls, coming to them irresistibly from God. These elements are being gathered from the nations of the earth in this miraculous manner to accomplish the purposes of our God. But there will be a cleansing in the floor in the garner, as it were. The work of cleansing is now going on. The net gathers a great many kinds of fish; but the bad fish will be thrown out. Having received these testimonies, and being in a position to know for ourselves concerning the work of God, it is for us to square our lives to make them agree with the principles of righteousness. As was read this afternoon, “My Spirit shall not always strive with man, saith the Lord of hosts.” There never has been a time in this Church since its organization when the Latter-day Saints have been preached to with such diligence as they have been of late. The Twelve Apostles are traveling constantly, visiting conferences, and the other brethren that are actively engaged in the ministry are doing the same. The people are being warned and taught, it seems to me, with a diligence and with a faith and power that I have never seen before in the Church. I do not think the Church ever was preached to as it is being preached to now. And this cannot be done without condemnation following those who resist the influence of the Spirit of God, and who harden their hearts against the teachings of God’s servants.
God help us, brethren and sisters, to be faithful to the truth, to cling to it, to love the Lord with all our hearts, to serve Him with all the diligence we can; which I humbly ask in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
The choir sang the anthem.
Light and Truth.
Benediction by Elder Seymour B. Young.
Third Day-Morning Session
Third Day-Morning Session
April 8th, 10 a.m.
The choir and congregation sang:
Redeemer of Israel, Our only delight,
On whom for a blessing we call,
Our shadow by day,
And our pillar by night,
Our King, our Deliv’rer, our All!
Prayer by Elder John W. Hess.
The hymn which begins,
Zion stands with hills surrounded
Zion kept by power divine,
was sung by the choir.
Elder Marriner W. Merrill
Elder Marriner W. Merrill
The Path of Duty Leads to Prosperity-Need for Retrenchment-Future Expansion of Missionary Work.
It is always a little difficult for me to start out upon a high key, and I have discovered that it is more or less the case with others. However, if you will give me your attention and your prayers and faith, I hope to be able to make you all hear the few minutes I shall occupy your attention. I have been much interested in our Conference, and can say that I heartily endorse the remarks that have thus far been made in our hearing. I was very much interested in the remarks of our President on yesterday, though it is not very pleasant to contemplate the scenes that he has passed through; the troubles and ordeals, going through waterwheels, having bones broken and all this; and I conclude that very few people could under such circumstances, endure for a long time.
I have a testimony of this work. I know it is true. I know the Lord is with His people; the manifestations of His power are realized and felt by many of the Latter-day Saints. Of all people we have the most reason to be grateful and thankful to our Heavenly Father. While, perhaps, our financial condition as a body is not so desirable as we would like it, yet I believe that we are as well off financially, and perhaps better off, than people in other states of our Union. It is wonderful to me, when I contemplate the affairs of our people, to realize the vast amount of money that goes from us in the transportation and support of our Elders on missions abroad, and in the payment of our tithes and our offerings. This is a condition that many people do not realize, and they do not have to cope with these things. The Lord, however, requires these conditions at our hands, and apparently He opens up the way and provides the means whereby these things are accomplished. The Elders are sent out, their fares are paid, they are supported by their friends while abroad; and it all costs money, and the money comes from somewhere. The Lord through His providences opens up the way whereby these things are accomplished. I was conversing with a brother some three or four years ago, I think at the Conference in this city, and he was telling me his condition. He was very much depressed financially. He had been under the necessity (he thought) to mortgage his home, and he was very much embarrassed. He felt very bad over it, so much so that he could hardly enjoy the spirit of the Conference. He was a very intimate friend of mine, and he asked me what to do. I told him that I believed that I could tell him what to do to extricate himself. He said he would be very glad to know what to do that he might be free again. I said, “have you paid your tithing of late years?” “Well,” he said, “no, not so strictly as I ought to have done.” I told him I thought that was one cause of his financial trouble, I said to him, “you go home now, and pay your tithing strictly, as you receive it; don’t you sign any more notes to anybody; don’t give mortgages on any more of your property; curtail your expenses at home, retrench a little, for I believe there is room for retrenchment; pay your tithing; trust in the Lord, and ways will be opened up whereby you may extricate yourself.” I met him at this Conference, and he said that he was getting along finely. He has nearly all of his debts paid, and he has lifted the mortgage from his home. I said, “then you have paid your tithing, have you?” He said, “yes, paid my tithing strictly and honestly.”
I believe there is a principle in this.
It is said that Paul may plant and Apollos may water, but the Lord giveth the increase. And I have concluded from my experience that the Lord is able to. The Lord gives us the increase. He blesses some people abundantly for a wise purpose in Himself. We cannot always comprehend why he blesses some men above other men, but there is a purpose in it, and I am just as confident as I am that I am standing before you, that if the Latter-day Saints from this very day, will pay their tithes honestly and strictly, and cease to mortgage their homes, cease to incur obligations as individuals, and begin a system of retrenchment in all their homes, the Lord will prosper them and they will be free from debt for is there a family in Israel that cannot retrench a little? I know that it can be done; and if the Latter-day Saints will do these things as a people, the time is not far distant when we will be relieved from our financial troubles. The Church will also be relieved of its financial troubles. Why is the Church financially depressed? Because we are financially depressed. We are the Church the people of the Church, and if we will retrench and observe the rules of propriety in regard to our family affairs I believe that we all may be relieved; and I believe the time is not far distant when it may be said of the Latter-day Saints, that they are lenders of money and not borrowers. This should be our situation. Now the evidence is before the people that we come far short of what the Lord requires at our hands in tithes and offerings. I heard President Young once say in the old Tabernacle here, “if the Latter-day Saints will pay their tithes honestly, every man and every family, I will pay all their taxes, their school bills and their general expenses.” It is evident that the people did not do it. We may search the Church from one end to the other, we may search the records, and we will find that there are not many men, (of course there are some, and perhaps a good number) that pay their tithing in full. A large majority of the people, I believe, come short in this, and they think they are doing pretty well too. They make themselves think they are doing pretty well in paying their tithes and offerings. This principle of tithing was not instituted by man. The authorities of the Church have not instituted it, God revealed it in the early history of the Church, and He made it a requirement of the Latter-day Saints. It is a law of the Lord, and it is important that the Latter-day Saints live up to the law, that this land may be a land of Zion unto the people.
Brethren and sisters, I want to make you a promise in my own name, that if you will observe these things, begin now to pay your tithes and your offerings in full, if you will cease to sign notes, if you will cease to give mortgages on your homes, and retrench from this time forth, and turn to the Lord with full purpose of heart, I will promise you that the way will be opened up and every faithful man and woman will be able to extricate himself and herself, and the time will be in your life time, when you will be a free people. There are some few people that are free now, and they do not owe any man anything, and they are happy and contented; but too many of the people have mortgages on their homes. I have always raised my voice against mortgaging and obligating ourselves. Wait until we have the means and then make the purchase, and do not make the purchase until we have the means. Do you not know that the whole system of our banking institutions in our midst is based upon the interest paid by the people for money borrowed? It is not a good thing, in my view, for individuals to do. It may be justifiable in the case of some large enterprise that would benefit the country and people, but as a rule for individuals to pattern after large corporations, they will fall if they do it. How many people in Salt Lake City, and in the country, have lost their homes, their families turned out without a shelter over their heads, because, peradventure, they have been unwise! They thought they were going to make a great deal of money by some speculation, and they have failed. The Lord did not bless the enterprise, and unless the Lord does so we will fail every time; no matter whether it be Jews or Gentiles, or Latter-day Saints, that enter into it. But if the Lord will bless the enterprise it will be a success. As a rule, however, it has not been the counsel of the priesthood, so far as I have learned, for the people to obligate themselves beyond that which they were able to meet at any time.
This system of retrenchment is important and necessary. Not only here in the city, but everywhere throughout the country, we see extravagance among the Saints, and carelessness and indifference with regard to the things that the Lord blesses us with. There is extravagance in the household; there is not that care and attention bestowed that ought to be. You will excuse me if I talk about myself and my own family, but I am reminded of an incident that occurred with me a few years ago. I had a brother who emigrated from England, working at my place. He had left his family there and had not the means to get them out. He said to me one day, “I wish my family could go to your swill barrel; they would get plenty of food right from it to supply them.” It set me to thinking. Do my family waste things like that? Do they waste provisions to such an extent that this man and his family could live out of the swill barrel? I began to examine the matter a little, and I had to talk a little about it. I not only found it was profitable to talk at home, but also to talk among my friends and neighbors. There has been more or less of extravagances financially; it is very important that nothing should be wasted. President Young used to talk about these things everywhere he went. I have heard him in the settlements of Saints cautioning the people to be prudent, and to be careful with the means that the Lord had blessed them with. I believe we ought to observe this counsel, and if we will do it, as I said before, I think we may rely upon it that the Lord will open up our way whereby we may be relieved. President Cannon was almost on the point of saying so, the other day. I felt the spirit that he was possessed of, that he felt to promise the people that the time would come when we would be in a different condition.
We are trying to do the Lord’s work, to preach the Gospel to the world. We are sending out a few missionaries, but, I tell you, so far as I can see in the future, and understand the future, we are not sending out a drop in the bucket today, to what we will send out in the future. Only think of it for a moment. We have, it is said, 1,700 Elders abroad in the world. Take these 1,700 Elders, cut them in two, place half in London and half in New York, two of the great cities of the world, and the people of these cities would hardly know there was an Elder among them, because the inhabitants are so numerous. But we are doing the best we can in regard to this matter, and the work is increasing and progressing and spreading abroad, and the Gospel of the Kingdom will eventually be preached as a witness to all people and all nations. We are here to do that, and we want to train our sons and prepare them to be honorable representatives of the Latter-day Saints. We do not want to send men out that are not honorable men. We want young men to go imbued with the spirit of this work, and we would like them to have a testimony from the Lord before they go and be able to give a reason for the hope they have within them. Then when they go into their fields of labor they are prepared to at once take hold of the work. They go to teach the world; they do not go to be taught by the world. They go from Zion blessed under the hands of the servants of God, to teach the Gospel and to warn the world. Young men must remember that they are not sent abroad to be taught of the world, but we must be acquainted with some of the principles and doctrines of the Church in order to set before the people those principles and doctrines that God has revealed for the salvation and redemption of the human family.
Brethren and sisters, I desire that we may reflect upon all these things and consider our affairs. We are herein this General Conference from the different parts of the State and from the states surrounding us. We are here to be taught; to have our minds stirred up by way of remembrance of the duties and responsibilities that rest upon us as Latter-day Saints. We are a peculiar people that peculiar people which Isaiah spoke of, and we are here to learn the way of the Lord. Whether this teaching be temporal or whether it be spiritual it is all the same for us in the advancement of this work. We have to be engaged in temporal affairs as well as in spiritual affairs to bring about the consummation of God’s purposes in the earth.
I pray that the blessings of God may be upon Zion, and upon her Stakes, that the spirit of humility may possess our souls; that we may have an opportunity to be taught, to be instructed and to follow in the counsels of the Priesthood of the Son of God; then we are safe, we are upon the sure foundation; our house is founded upon the rock, and when the winds come and the rains beat upon it, it will stand unmoved; but if we are tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine, and follow after “Christian Science” or some other myth or folly, we shall not be saved. As one of the brethren… we have all in the Church of Christ that will exalt and ennoble us. Our insurance agencies in the Church are safe and sure, and if we are faithful in keeping the commandments of God we will be sure of eternal lives. God bless you. Amen.
Elder John W. Taylor
Elder John W. Taylor
A field of usefulness for women-Divine agencies at work.
My brethren and sisters, I pray that the Spirit of the Lord which guides us in the ways of all truth will direct me in what I shall say this morning. I bear testimony to the advice that has been given unto us by Elder Merrill. I was pleased with the remarks that were given on the first day of this Conference, because they partook of the spirit of encouragement. I feel encouraged in the work of the Lord, and I can see that the spirit which the brethren are imbued with is similar to that which was possessed by Nephi, the Prophet, while going up to the city of Jerusalem to get the record of his forefathers. His brothers protested against him going for this purpose, and he answered them in this wise:
“That as the Lord liveth, and as we live, we will not go down unto our father in the wilderness, until we have accomplished the thing which the Lord hath commanded us.”
When I heard President Cannon speaking about the success of the work of the Lord I could see he partook of the same spirit, and the brethren that have followed him since the first day have also manifested that spirit. I have been considerably impressed by all the remarks that have been made, and I feel that any one who has not been melted and made tender and pliable by that which has been said, must be as cold as an iceberg.
I desire to touch upon the idea presented by President Cannon, that occasionally wise and prudent women would be permitted to go forth and accompany their husbands in preaching the Gospel to the nations of the earth. I have been away on missionary labor, more or less, for some months past; our experience is, especially during the pleasant warm weather, that about one-half of the men in the country are away to the mines, they are absent from home looking after their business, and it would be imprudent for us to teach men’s wives, and to take them into the waters of baptism without the consent of their husbands. A great number of men in the Western States and territories are away from home, and leave their wives for a season. It would not be wise for Elders to enter such homes, in fact, they are advised against this and they observe this counsel. They do not go to the homes of women where the husbands are absent, or where there are no men folks living in the house. What is the result? The result is there are thousands of families to whom we cannot explain our views, simply because there are no men at home; they probably would receive us with pleasure and listen to our message if it were practicable to visit them. But I can see now the possibility of this being corrected. I have in view now, one of the sisters that was laboring in the state of Colorado. In the district where she resided there were some five families where the husbands were away from home. She became acquainted with those families. She distributed tracts in their midst, and they came to understand our views in regard to our religion, but so far as the Elders are concerned these families would have been passed by. There are probably thousands of families in this condition. I just mention this to corroborate the remarks of President Cannon, and to bear testimony to the good work that women can do.
I feel to rejoice in the work in which we are engaged and in hearing of the great success of the Elders of Israel abroad. I was struck very much with a remark made yesterday by Elder Roberts; it was a very slight remark, but it impressed me. He said that God had witnesses upon the earth of His work. The witnesses Elder Roberts referred to, I presume, were the Elders of Israel who hold the Priesthood and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. I desire to read to you about other witnesses which possibly he did not have in his mind. I find in the 28th chapter of the Third Book of Nephi, the following, spoken by Jesus Christ unto the Twelve Apostles upon this continent:
“And it came to pass when Jesus had said these words, he spake unto his disciples, one by one, saying unto them, What is it that ye desire of me, after that I am gone to the Father?
“And they all spake, save it were three, we desire that after we have lived unto the age of man, that our ministry, wherein thou hast called us, may have an end, that we may speedily come unto thee, in thy kingdom.
“And He said unto them, Blessed are ye, because ye desired this thing of me; therefore after that ye are seventy and two years old, ye shall come unto me in my kingdom, and with me ye shall find rest.
“And when He had spoken unto them, he turned himself unto the three, and said unto them, What will ye that I should do unto you, when I am gone unto the Father?
“And they sorrowed in their hearts, for they durst not speak unto Him the thing which they desired.
“And he said unto them, Behold, I know your thoughts, and ye have desired the thing which John, my beloved, who was with me in my ministry, before that I was lifted up by the Jews, desired of me;
“Therefore more blessed are ye, for ye shall never taste of death, but ye shall live to behold all the doings of the Father, unto the children of men, even until all things shall be fulfilled, according to the will of the Father, when I shall come in my glory, with the powers of heaven;
“And ye shall never endure the pains of death; but when I shall come in my glory, ye shall be changed in the twinkling of an eye from mortality to immortality: and then shall ye be blessed in the kingdom of my Father.
“And again, ye shall not have pain while ye shall dwell in the flesh, neither sorrow, save it be for the sins of the world: and all this will I do because of the thing which ye have desired of me, for ye have desired that ye might bring the souls of men unto me, while the world shall stand;
“And for this cause ye shall have fullness of joy; and ye shall sit down in the kingdom of my Father; yea, your joy shall be full, even as the Father hath given me fullness of joy; and ye shall be even as I am, and I am even as the Father; and the Father and I are one;
“And the Holy Ghost beareth record of the Father and me; and the Father giveth the Holy Ghost unto the children of men, because of me.
“And it came to pass that when Jesus had spoken these words He touched every one of them with his finger, save it were the three who were to tarry, and then He departed.
“And behold, the heavens were opened, and they were caught up into heaven, and saw and heard unspeakable things.
“And it was forbidden them that they should utter; neither was it given unto them power that they could utter the things which they saw and heard;
“And whether they were in the body or out of the body, they could not tell; for it did seem unto them like a transfiguration of them, that they were changed from this body of flesh into an immortal state, that they could behold the things of God.
“But it came to pass that they did again minister upon the face of the earth; nevertheless they did not minister of the things which they had heard and seen, because of the commandment which was given them in heaven.
“And now whether they were mortal or immortal, from the day of their transfiguration, I know not;
“But this much I know, according to the record which hath been given, they did go forth upon the face of the land, and did minister unto all the people, uniting as many to the Church that would believe in their preaching; baptizing them; and as many as were baptized, did receive the Holy Ghost;
“And they were cast into prison by them who did not belong to the Church, And the prisons could not hold them, for they were rent in twain,
“And they were cast down into the earth. But they did smite the earth with the word of God, inasmuch that by his power they were delivered out of the depths of the earth; and therefore they could not dig pits sufficient to hold them.
“And thrice they were cast into a furnace, and received no harm,
“And twice were they cast into a den of wild beasts; and behold they did play with the beasts, as a child with a suckling lamb, and received no harm.
“And it came to pass that thus they did go forth among all the people of Nephi, and did preach the Gospel of Christ unto all people upon the face of the land; and they were converted unto the Lord, and were united unto the Church of Christ, and thus the people of that generation were blessed, according to the word of Jesus.
“And now I, Mormon, make an end of speaking concerning these things for a time.
“Behold, I was about to write the names of those who were never to taste of death; but the Lord forbade, therefore I write them not, for they are hid from the world,
“But behold I have seen them, and they have ministered unto me;
“And behold they will be among the Gentiles, and the Gentiles knoweth them not.
“They will also be among the Jews, and the Jews shall know them not.
“And it shall come to pass, when the Lord seeth fit in His wisdom, that they shall minister unto all the scattered tribes of Israel, and unto all nations, kindreds, tongues and people, and shall bring out of them unto Jesus many souls, that their desire may be fulfilled, and also because of the convincing power of God which is in them.”
It seems that these men shall have a peculiar endowment, and that endowment shall be the convincing power of God.
“And they are as the angels of God, and if they shall pray unto the Father in the name of Jesus, they can shew themselves unto whatsoever man it seemeth them good;
“Therefore great and marvelous works shall be wrought by them, before the great and coming day, when all people must surely stand before the judgment seat of Christ;
“Yea even among the Gentiles shall there be a great and marvelous work wrought by them, before that judgment day.”
Now, you wonder why so many Gentiles are turning their hearts toward the truth. We can learn that there is a change brought about by agencies in addition to the witnesses that were spoken of yesterday by Elder Roberts. God bless you. Amen.
Elder Jonathon Golden Kimball
Elder Jonathon Golden Kimball
Thoughts on temporal interests-The need of being devotional and self-sacrificing.
I readily discover, my brethren and sisters, that this congregation do hunger and thirst for the word of God, and it is through this that the Apostles and those that have spoken unto you have been given such great liberty, and why you have been fed by the servants of the Lord under the influence of the Holy Spirit. It is now your duty to not only listen but to digest; not only to make resolutions, but to live up to the instructions that have been given, if you expect to receive the blessings of the Lord.
There is a principle that I desire to talk upon for a few moments. I have the idea, but it is not yet clothed, but I pray the Lord that He may move upon me through your faith and prayers, to explain my views upon a certain subject. I am very much interested myself in the financial welfare of this people, because I realize from my own experience that when men are in financial difficulties, and their honesty is in question, and they are unable to fulfill their agreements, it is very difficult for honest men who are sensitive to the reproach of the children of men to feel joyous and happy, and to appreciate the blessings with which they are surrounded. I want to say to you that the sun does not shine brightly to such men, the grass is not green, and sometimes I fancy, they hardly feel that water runs down hill. It is a most terrible condition to be in. One of the great difficulties that menace this people is the lack of employment for our people. I know how some of us worship gold and silver, but I tell you that is not so great a problem among this people as employment. I am not in much doubt that the time will be in these United States when the people will worship work more than they do money, and it is one of the demands that I make upon this people, that they see to it that the people of this Church are employed. If you have large farms, and you are poor and poverty stricken with so much land, see to it that the people are given employment. Then the people must see to it that they are willing to take the produce of the country as pay for their labor, and not ask the farmer to give them gold and silver, which it is very difficult for him to get.
With all due respect to some things that are being done, I believe that it is absolutely necessary God requires it of this people that they pay their tithes and offerings, and that the offerings be used for the people that are old, aged and infirm. It is one of the most destructive things that has happened in this Church when strong, able-bodied men and women, and young men and women are provided from its offerings which are given for the poor. I know the spirit that is creeping in among this people. I remember a certain experience I had when the scarlet fever struck my family. After they had recovered I sought most diligently in one of our own thriving settlements for a little help. I found families that were poor, and that were being supported by the Bishop. When I asked them to come and assist my wife and I offered them the best I had (for which I was grateful to my Heavenly Father), that is, tithing office scrip they said, “we can get enough of that without working.” I have told some of my brethren that there is no man in this Church that has been treated better than I have by the authorities of the Church, and I am wonder-struck when I think of how I have been blessed; but I tell my brethren, “when you have not employment for me, say the word, and I will take my family by the hand, and I will again be a pioneer in the land.” We have hundreds of brilliant young men, men that have experience; but they are hanging around these streets and starving to death. Do you know what is the matter with us? There is a great deal of pride connected with it. It is not a difficult thing to live in a log hut if you have never had anything better, but it is a difficult thing to drop to a log house when you have been living in a castle. But our pride has get to be humbled, young men. There are a great many of us that ought to be sent out. Talk about missionary work; they ought to call out of this city 500 and send them on missions to colonize and build up the tens of thousands of acres that are in this great State of Utah. If the State of Utah is not good enough for you, go to Canada. That is a wonderful country, and you can get rich and prosper if you keep the commandments of the Lord. Then you can come back to Salt Lake City, and put on all the style you want to, if you pay for it.
I desire to read to you from the Book of Doctrine and Covenants. I will put my text to the last part of my discourse, instead of the first. I wish to call to your mind what the Lord says:
“I, the Lord, stretched out the heavens, and built the earth as a very handy work, and all things therein are mine:
“And it is my purpose to provide for my Saints, for all things are mine;
“But it must needs be done in mine own way; and behold this is the way that I, the Lord, have decreed to provide for my Saints, that the poor shall be exalted, in that the rich are made low;
“For the earth is full, and there is enough and to spare; yea, I prepared all things and have given unto the children of men to be agents unto themselves.
“Therefore, if any man shall take of the abundance which I have made, and impart not his portion, according to the law of any Gospel, unto the poor and the needy, he shall, with the wicked, lift up his eyes in hell, being in torment.”
So that I fancy we had better commence to get generous and impart of the abundance which the Lord has given us and give employment to the thousands of people that are in need. The trouble that came upon the people in Kirtland was brought about for these reasons which I will read to you:
“But behold they have not learned to be obedient to the things which I required at their hands, but are full of all manner of evil, and do not impart of their substance, as becometh Saints, to the poor and afflicted among them,
“And are not united according to the union required by the law of the celestial kingdom;
“And Zion cannot be built up unless it is by the principles of the laws of the celestial kingdom; otherwise I cannot receive her unto myself;
“And my people must needs be chastened until they learn obedience, if it must needs be by the things which they suffer.”
Now, Zion will be redeemed, and I want to say to you, my brethren and sisters, that all is not well in Zion; but if you wish to be popular you want to say that all is well in Zion. The Lord requires it at the hands of this people that they pay their tithes and their offerings, and that they see to it that they impart of the abundance which the Lord has given, to those that need work, and give them employment. The hands of the Presidency and the Apostles of this Church are tied because we are raising up among this people, what I call paupers. It is not the fault of the people altogether, it is because they cannot find work. I pray the Lord that He may move upon all of us that are in need of assistance, that we will have the pride of a Latter-day Saint, and not receive anything when we are able to work, unless we be furnished employment. That demand should be made upon the Latter-day Saints, and I felt impressed that if the time ever came that I had no food for my family, I would go among the Latter-day Saints and as a servant of God I would demand work.
And if you would not give me work the Lord would take from the abundance which you are blessed with.
Now I want to prophesy, as the son of a prophet, that if this people want to be blessed they must labor for Zion; for if you labor for money you shall perish. You are under covenant, and it is a demand that God makes of this people that they redeem Zion. You have got to be generous, and you have got to place all that you have and are upon the altar and learn to live the law of the celestial kingdom.
“But,” says one to me, “you would not preach that way four years ago when you had something.” Well, if you have got to learn to preach the way I am doing you will learn it just the way I learned it. You will pay for it. The Lord will take from you what you have if you don’t humble yourselves, and He will chasten you. I want to say to you the Gospel is to be preached to every nation, kindred, tongue and people. We are spending no less than $300,000 a year, if I have figured right. If your Elders are traveling without money they spend an awful sight of it, it seems to me, and you will be called upon to spend a good deal more. You will be called upon to place all that you have and are upon the altar; and if you do not have your feet right and know that this is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, when you are asked to give up your means, you will flounder and lose the faith; but if you have not got anything you will be just as Pater was. I am in the same fix. If I leave this Church, where in heaven will I go. That is the way I feel.
I feel to bless the people. I feel that you are being blessed and that you will continue to be blessed as long as you keep the commandments of God. When you cease keeping the commandments of God then the judgments of God will commence at the house of the Lord, and I pray that that may be averted. I pray that we may not pass through the experience that the people had in Kirtland because they transgressed the laws of God. May the Lord bless you. Amen.
President Joseph F. Smith
President Joseph F. Smith
The Saints a charitable people-Idleness and pauperism should not be fostered-Value of independence and industry.
My brethren and sisters I have been unexpectedly called upon to make a few remarks and as I have not premeditated upon what to say, it is just occurred to me to follow some of the remarks that have already been made to us this morning, by reading from the fourth chapter of Mosiah:
“Believe in God: believe that He is, and that He created all things, both in heaven and in earth; believe that He has all wisdom, and all power, both in heaven and in earth; believe that man doth not comprehend all the things which the Lord can comprehend.
“And again: Believe that ye must repent of your sins and forsake them, and humble yourselves before God; and ask in sincerity of heart that He would forgive you; and now, if you believe all these things see that ye do them.
“And again I say unto you as I have said before, that ye have known of His goodness, and have tasted of His love and have received a remission of your sins, which causeth such exceeding great joy in your souls, even so I would that ye should remember, and always retain in remembrance, the greatness of God, and your own nothingness, and His goodness and long suffering towards you, unworthy creatures, and humble yourselves even in the depths of humility, calling on the name of the Lord daily, and standing steadfastly in the faith of that which is to come, which was spoken by the mouth of the angel;
“And behold, I say unto you, that if ye do this, ye shall always rejoice, and be filled with the love of God, and always retain a remission of your sins; and ye shall grow in the knowledge of the glory of Him that created you, or in the knowledge of that which is just and true.
“And ye will not have a mind to injure one another, but to live peaceably, and to render to every man according to that which is his due.
“And ye will not suffer your children, that they go hungry, or naked; neither will ye suffer that they transgress the laws of God, and fight and quarrel with one another, and serve the devil, who is the master of sin, or who is the evil spirit which hath been spoken of by our fathers; he being an enemy to all righteousness;
“But ye will teach them to walk in the ways of truth and soberness; ye will teach them to love one another, and to serve one another;
“And also, ye yourselves will succor those that stand in need of your succor; ye will administer of your substance unto him that standeth in need; and ye will not suffer that the beggar putteth up his petition to you in vain, and turn him out to perish.
“Perhaps thou shalt say, the man has brought upon himself his misery, therefore I will stay my hand, and will not give unto him of my food, nor impart unto him of my substance that he may not suffer, for his punishments are just.
“But I say unto you, O man, whosoever doeth this, the same hath great cause to repent; and except he repenteth of that which he hath done, he perisheth for ever, and hath no interest in the kingdom of God.
“For behold, are we not all beggars? Do we not all depend upon the same Being, even God, for all the substance which we have; for both food and raiment, and for gold and for silver, and for all the riches which we have of every kind?
“And behold, even at this time, ye have been calling on His name, and begging for a remission of your sins. And has He suffered that ye have begged in vain? Nay. He has poured out His Spirit upon you, and has caused that your hearts should be filled with joy, and has caused that your mouths should be stopped, that ye could not find utterance, so exceeding great was your joy.
“And now, if God, who has created you, on whom you are dependent for your lives, and for all that ye have and are, doth grant unto you whatsoever ye ask that is right in faith, believing that ye shall receive, O then, how had ye ought to impart of the substance that ye have one to another?
“And if ye judge the man who putteth up his petition to you for your substance that he perish not, and condemn him, how much more just will be your condemnation for withholding your substance, which doth not belong to you but to God, to whom also your life belongeth; and yet ye put up no petition, nor repent of the thing which thou hast done.
“I say unto you, Wo be unto that man, for his substance shall perish with him; and now, I say these things unto those who are rich, as pertaining to the things of this world.
“And again, I say unto the poor, Ye who have not and yet have sufficient, that ye remain from day to day; I mean all you who deny the beggar, because ye have not; I would that ye say in your hearts, that I give not because I have not; but if I had, I would give.
“And now, if ye say this in your hearts, ye remain guiltless, otherwise ye are condemned, and your condemnation is just; for ye covet that which ye have not received.
“And now, for the sake of these things which I have spoken unto you; that is, for the sake of retaining a remission of your sins from day to day, that ye may walk guiltless before God, I would that ye should impart of your substance to the poor, every man according to that which he hath, such as feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and administering to their relief, both spiritually and temporally, according to their wants;
“And see that all these things are done in wisdom and order; for it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength. And again: It is expedient that he should be diligent, that thereby he might win the prize; therefore, all things must be done in order.
“And I would that ye should remember, that whosoever among you that borroweth of his neighbor, should return the thing that he borroweth, according as he doth agree, or else then shalt commit sin, and perhaps thou shalt cause thy neighbor to commit sin also.
“And finally, I cannot tell you all the things whereby ye may commit sin; for there are divers ways and means, even so many, that I cannot number them. “But this much I can tell you, that if ye do not watch yourselves, and your thoughts, and your words, and your deeds, and observe the commandments of God, and continue in the faith of what ye have heard concerning the coming of our Lord, even unto the end of your lives, ye must perish. And now, O man, remember, and perish not.”
I have been reading the words of King Benjamin to the people as recorded in the fourth chapter of Mosiah in the Book of Mormon, and I don’t know but what they apply to us today, in many ways, as completely as they applied to those unto whom they were spoken. Yet, I believe I can confidently say that the Latter-day Saints, as a rule, are among the most hospitable, generous and kind-hearted people that can be found upon the earth. Not long ago one of our Elders returned from a mission in the South. There had been a question raised in his mind as to whether the Latter-day Saints in Zion would be as open-handed, as hospitable, as kind-hearted and as willing to receive and entertain a stranger as were the people of the South, and he determined to put the matter to the test. The story of his visits to some of our people here is published in the Improvement Era, No. 6. I cannot give it to you in detail, but will only attempt a brief outline. Representing himself as a minister of the Gospel from the state of Tennessee, traveling without purse or scrip, as the Elders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were generally doing, he called upon Brother B. Y. Hampton of the Hampton House and asked for entertainment without charge. Brother Hampton readily consented to take care of him. He next called at the Temple Barber Shop, with a similar representation, and asked for a “shave and shingle,” on the same terms, which was readily complied with, and he was asked to “come again.” He next called upon Brother Henry Dinwoodey, and presenting himself as before, asked for means to pay his fare on the railroad, going north, whereupon Brother Dinwoodey handed him out the money. Needing a mainspring in his watch he called upon Brother John Daynes and Son, and introduced himself as before, and they cheerfully repaired his watch. He then called upon Col. Thomas G. Webber of Z. C. M. I. and in the same guise asked for a pair of shoes, which Col. Webber generously gave him. Having a tooth which needed filling, he called at the dental parlors of Dr. Fred Clawson, whom he convinced, after some difficulty, that he was not an old friend and school mate, but really a minister of the Gospel from Tennessee, having a similar name, the doctor readily consented to his having his tooth filled without money or price. Thus it was proven that the Latter-day Saints were as generous, as kind-hearted, as ready to help the stranger of another religion, as were the good people of the Southern States, and for that matter of any other country. Having put these people to the test, in other words, having weighed them in the balance and found them not wanting in each case he fully explained his motive and who he was, to their mutual delight. And when the Elder returned their gifts or declined to receive the favors granted him without proper remuneration, in each case, as I understand, the brethren insisted that what they had done was in good faith on their part, and he was welcome to the same, believing that an Elder who had spent two years and upwards on a mission, laboring without purse or scrip, would be likely to stand almost as much in need of such help as would the strange minister whom he had personated.
Now some of us are a little more fortunate than others. For instance, I have several doors, and beggars come to all of them; and if ever a beggar was turned away from one of my doors I never knew it. I have always, and so have my family, contributed food and such clothing as we could spare to every one who came asking for it. Last summer a poor boy came to my house. I happened to be out of doors, around the corner of the house; I heard the voice of a man, I looked, and he was sitting on a box. I heard that he was murmuring and cursing and swearing. I stepped out and I said, “My friend, what is the matter with you?” He pointed to his feet and said, “look at my feet.” The remnants of shoes which he had on them were too small for him. He had worn them through the soles and through the sides, and his feet were out upon the ground. They were blistered and inflamed and painfully sore. He said he had been driven out of Davis county by the officers of the law, and was told that if he did not get out of the county he would be put in jail for vagrancy, and he had come here and asked for food, and the people who had given him food had not invited him into the house. Now I said, “my friend, why do you swear about it? It seems to me that a man in your circumstances ought to pray rather than swear. It would be much more becoming in you to humble yourself and appeal to the Lord for a little assistance from Him, rather than to curse and swear as I have heard you do. I said to him, “this is my home, this is my family who live here, I have a very large family and I have all I can do to provide for them. So far as I can find or provide labor for my children they are out at work, indeed some of them are at work who ought to be going to school. Notwithstanding all this, we are willing to help you or any other person, so far as we can, who comes to us in need; but I don’t like any one to come upon my premises and use profane language, or curse and swear. Now, I advise you never to swear again, hold sacred the name of the Lord, and do a little praying, and I’ll promise you, you will get along better in this world than you have done.”
I then called my wife’s attention to the condition of this poor boy, and she prepared him a good warm bath, gave him a clean undershirt and a pair of socks, and a pair of boots, and a good breakfast, and sent him on his way. This is the way we treated this poor creature. But we do not treat them all that way. We could not afford to give all that come boots and socks and clothes and baths, for we have not enough to go round, but we have always managed to give something to the poor, and refuse no one who asks for food. I believe this is the general sentiment and character of the Latter-day Saints. I think all the Mormon people are kindly disposed, and are generous toward the poor and unfortunate, and that there is not a Latter-day Saint under the sound of my voice or anywhere that would not divide his portion with his fellow creature in case of need. I have this testimony to bear to the Latter-day Saints. President Cannon asks whether I would advise, where men come asking for food, that they be invited to do a little work for it. I should most decidedly be in favor of asking a man who had plenty of time on his hands, and nothing else, and who had physical strength, to devote a little of his time and strength by way of compensating for that which he received. But you want to watch them a little; I am not talking now of the Latter-day Saints who seek for employment. There are very few Latter-day Saints who have to beg, indeed I know of none, and I am sorry there are any professing to be Latter-day Saints who do beg; there ought not to be any Latter-day Saint beggars. The beggars that we have are those that are not of us, and they are sometimes very wicked in their hearts, and not at all grateful at times for what they receive. I have seen men go away from my door with good bread and butter in their hands (good enough for any king to eat, for my folks make good bread and good butter, as good as I ever ate on earth) and when out of the gate they have thrown it into the street. It was not food they wanted. They wanted money. For what? That they might go to some gambling hell or to some drinking saloon. Of course they are responsible for that. We can only judge by appearances and by the promptings of the good spirit within us; and it is better to give to a dozen that are unworthy than to turn away empty one worthy person.
There is another phase of this question that I want to refer to. There is such a thing as encouraging idleness and fostering pauperism among men. Men and women ought not to be willing to receive charity unless they are compelled to do so to keep them from suffering. Every man and woman ought to possess the spirit of independence, a self-sustaining spirit, that would prompt him or her to say, when they are in need, “I am willing to give my labor in exchange for that which you give me.” No man ought to be satisfied to receive, and to do nothing for it. After a man is brought down to poverty and is under the necessity of receiving aid, and his friends give it him, he should feel that it is an obligation under which he is placed, and when the Lord should open his way he would return the gift. That is the feeling we should cultivate in our hearts, to make us a free and independent people. The cultivation of any other feeling or spirit than this is calculated to make paupers, to degrade and bring mankind down to beggary, which is a most wretched condition for men to be in. It is a bad thing for men to think the world owes them a living, and all they have to do is to beg or steal to get it. When it comes to this class of people I am very much of the mind expressed once by Dr. Johnson, when a beggar came to him and asked alms and insisted that the doctor should be generous in helping him, “for,” said he, “doctor, you know that I must live.” But the doctor said, “I don’t see the least necessity for it.” When a man becomes a parasite, living upon the charity of his friends, I confess it is hard to see the necessity for him to live. He is no good to any one. I speak this way only of such as are able-bodied, such as have their faculties and can devote these to some industry, to some useful labor. I don’t refer to the cripple, to those who are enfeebled by age, because I look at them in an entirely different light; there is a necessity for them to live, and there is a necessity for us to assist such, but there is no great need in this world for men and women who are able to work and will not work. Men come to our Bishop and to the Apostles and ask, “What shall we do? We are without employment. We cannot get anything to do, and what shall we do?” The Bishop says, “pack up your knapsack, if you have one, or if you have not take your bandana handkerchief to put your clothes into, if you have anything but what is on your back, and go out into the outer settlements where there is land to take up, where there is water to take out of the river, and where there is an opportunity for you to take up a farm, cultivate the soil, and eventually raise cows, sheep, chickens, pigs and other useful animals and produce from mother earth enough to feed and clothe you, and thereby make yourself an independent citizen, a useful member of society, and contribute something to the welfare of mankind, and prove that the world is better for your being in it. “Well, but,” one of our good brethren says, “that was all right enough, Bishop, in olden times, but times are different now.” Of course the times are different now. A boy starting out in the world now-a-days as we used to do, without anything, sees his neighbors enjoying the possession of good, comfortable homes, he sees a great many people that are rich, who can ride in their carriages, and have every luxury, and he, under the impression that he is as good as they and as much entitled to riches as they are, feels that because he has not as much as they have, he is in some way injured or persecuted, and envy and enmity spring up in his soul toward the rich, and he feels that they are his enemies and that he has a right to be theirs. That is wrong. It is just as easy to make a living out of the soil now with comparatively nothing to begin with as it was for the Pioneers when they first came into this valley, were it not for the pride that we have, providing we go where land and water await the labor necessary to subdue and utilize them, instead of idly coveting the possessions of others, and nursing the thought that we ought to have as good as they have. If we will go to work and earn and produce that which we need, we are entitled to it, and the Lord will bless every man who honestly and faithfully undertakes to get it out of mother earth. The Lord Almighty in the beginning, designed that we should earn our bread by the sweat of our brow, and we should produce from the earth that which is needful for food and clothing and to build us habitations. He has provided gold and silver and iron and precious stones in vast abundance in the earth, and it is legitimate for men to gather all these from the earth, because they are useful for mankind. The Lord has provided these things; and there is nothing on the face of the globe nor in its depths that God has provided for the use of man, that is not legitimate for us to take and use if we do so wisely and prudently. They are all designed for our good. Now let us not encourage pauperism, or beggary; let us not encourage the thought that the Church or that the world owes any man a living, except it be the worthy poor the Lord’s poor or by his honest labor he earns it. I heard a fellow one time say, “the world owes me a living and I will be damned if I don’t have it.” Such a man as that would have it if he had to steal it, and after a while he would have it if he had to murder some man who had riches, in order to rob him of his possessions. This is the spirit of murder and robbery. The spirit which creeps into the hearts of men to receive alms and obtain something for nothing, making them believe it is due them without honest work is, in part, the same spirit, at least it is a spirit that leads on to murder and robbery, in order that its passion might get what “the world owes” him, as he imagines. Now the world owes me a living provided I will go to work to produce it by honest labor. The earth has been good and generous to all those who have honestly labored upon its bosom, and who have sought succor and assistance from it. It has been a good mother. It has yielded in its strength for the good of man when he has put his labor upon it industriously and faithfully; such have reaped their harvest in its season and have partaken of its fruits in abundance. Let us seek then to obtain our living in this way, if the Lord permits us to do it; and if He calls us to any other business let us attend to that as faithfully as we would attend to the cultivation of the soil if we were permitted to occupy ourselves in that direction. God bless you is my prayer in the name of Jesus. Amen.
The choir sang:
On the mountain’s top appearing
Lo! the sacred herald stands!
Benediction by Elder George B. Wallace.
Third Day-Afternoon Session
Third Day-Afternoon Session
The choir sang:
O, God, our help in ages past,
Our hope for years to come,
Our shelter from the stormy blast,
And our eternal home.
Prayer by Elder Elias H. Blackburn.
Singing by the choir:
Behold, the mountain of the Lord
In latter days shall rise,
On mountain tops, above the hills,
And draw the wond’ring eyes.
The following abstracts of reports were read by President Joseph F. Smith:
Synopsis of Primary association reports for year ending December 31st, 1897.
This report lacks those of four Stakes of Zion.
No. of associations 459
No. of officers 2,893
No. of members 33,449
Showing an increase of 2,190
No. of regular and other meetings held 14,738
No. of testimonies, readings and other exercises 149,953
Louie B. Felt, President.
Lillie T. Freeze, First Counselor.
Josephine R. West, Second Counselor.
May Anderson, Secretary and Treasurer.
Synopsis of Sunday school statistical report for 1897:
Number of Sunday schools
In the organized Stakes of Zion. 630
In the foreign missions of the Church 361
Number of schools held during the year 39,470
Total number of pupils males. 48,454
Total number of officers, teachers and missionaries 12,596
Considerably more than one-third of the children attending these schools are in the primary department (including the kindergarten).
In the Stakes of Zion the average number of times school has been held during the year is 45 1/2.
The most noticeable feature of the report is the great increase in schools and attendance in the foreign missions of the Church. There are 150 in the Southern States mission alone, and more than 130 on the isles of the Pacific.
Elder George Teasdale
Elder George Teasdale
Restoration of the Gospel-Its promises to the obedient-Joseph Smith sent of God-The Word
“There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews:
“The same came to Jesus by night and said unto Him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God; for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.
“Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
“Nicodemus saith unto Him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?
“Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water, and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
“That which is born of the flesh, is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit, is spirit.
“Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.
“The wind bloweth where it listeth and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth; so is every one that is born of the Spirit.
“Nicodemus answered and said unto Him, How can these things be?
“Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?
“Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness.”
It has been demonstrated at this Conference that the same Spirit that existed in the primitive Church exists in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints today. The testimonies that have been borne by those who have addressed us have all given witness of the same thing, that we are living in the dispensation of the fullness of times. We are bearing our testimony to the world that the angel that John saw on the Isle of Patmos, when he received that wonderful revelation, showing things that should happen hereafter, has come. In that revelation was given a description of the Church of Christ going into the wilderness, the Priesthood being taken from the earth, Rev. XII, the establishment of false systems that would make all nations to drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication. Rev. XVII. John also saw a mighty angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting Gospel to preach to those who dwell upon the earth, crying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment is come. Rev. XIV. We testify that this angel has come, that this everlasting Gospel has been restored, and that the Gospel of the kingdom is being preached by the Latter-day Saints in all the world for a witness. We take unto them the glad tidings of great joy. We call upon mankind everywhere, no matter what their profession may be, to worship the living and true God, who hath spoken in these last days. We cry unto them repentance, reformation, to cease from their evil ways, and to worship the living and true God, and to obey His Gospel. We entreat them to be baptized by immersion for the remission of sins, that they may enjoy the blessings resulting therefrom, and that they may be sanctified by the precious blood of Christ, which follows the water, and be prepared for the reception of the Holy Ghost. We promise unto them if they will obey this form of doctrine; if they will humble themselves before the Lord, and seek wisdom at His hands; if they will give unto the Lord the broken heart and the contrite spirit, they shall know, as we know, that these principles are true.
We are sending our missionaries all the time, and when they return they can testify that God lives, that Jesus is the Christ, that Joseph Smith was a true Prophet sent of God. If they did not know it when they started out to preach the Gospel, they obtained this information before they came back, simply because our Father in heaven is doing His own work. It does not require an artificial education to prepare a man to declare the word of the Lord unto the people. It is not by wisdom, it is not by might, it is not by oratory, it is not by logic; but it is “by my Spirit, saith the Lord.” Our message unto the people is one that every individual is interested in, no matter what his profession may be. The word of the Lord is to every individual. As the Lord Jesus Christ said to His ancient Apostles, so He hath said in these last days:
“Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature.
“He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.”
You may ask why this condemnation should come unto the people. Simply because it is not our message; it is the message of God Almighty. Whoso receiveth us receiveth Him; whoso rejecteth us rejecteth Him.
The great problem before the world is, was Joseph Smith sent of God, or was he not? No matter how much you may vilify him, no matter how much evil may be said concerning him, it is a solemn fact that he was sent of God, and we bear testimony that we know it. We have been gathered out of the world. We were Catholics, we were Protestants of various denominations, and when the word of the Lord came to us we obeyed it. A great many of our friends rejected it; but those of us who have obeyed it have this living testimony that we know that God lives, we know that Jesus is the Christ, we know that Joseph Smith was a true Prophet of God, and we know that the Church of Christ, in its present organized state upon the earth, is the Church of the Redeemer, and that the signs follow the believer. Test our principles. As far as we are concerned as a people, we are a variety. The wheat and tares are growing together, are they not? The wise and the foolish virgins are living together, are they not? But the Lord’s own love Him and keep His commandments. They do not rob Him in tithes and offerings. They are consistent in their profession and in their faith. They hear the word of God and do it. Although none of us pretend to be good (for our Royal Master said that no one was good save God), still by way of comparison we say we have the good, the King’s own, those who love Him and keep His commandments. You may know them when you take them by the hand. They are filled with thanksgiving and praise to God for the redemption that He has wrought out; and we say with the Psalmist of old:
“O give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good; for His mercy endureth for ever.
“Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy;
“And gathered them out of the lands, from the east, and from the west, from the north, and from the south.
“Oh, that men would praise the Lord for His goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!” Ps. CVII.
We are the redeemed of the Lord. We have accepted of the principles of redemption, and consequently have been sanctified in the precious blood of Christ. Those who love God and keep His commandments represent Him and the Lord Jesus Christ. They love one another, and they are known by their works. Their faith is manifested by their works. Then we have a class that are not so good, that are not so faithful. They have not the faith of the Gospel so much as this first class, who represent the celestial kingdom. But they are those who rob the Lord in tithes and offerings. They are those who are not valiant for the testimony of Jesus. They are those who do not magnify their calling. Consequently we say they are not so good. Then we have another class, I presume, representing the telestial. They are good for nothing. But we call them all good. These are the simple facts in the case. We manifest our position by our works. This immense congregation here, I suppose we represent the different degrees of glory. It is to be hoped not. It is to be hoped that we represent the celestial kingdom. But according to the testimony of the Spirit that was manifested here by some of the brethren who spoke, there are quite a number who profess to be Latter-day Saints, but are not of the celestial kingdom, simply because they do not love God and are lukewarm.
I do not know how far we may be justified in going into debt; but we were admonished years ago by President John Taylor to keep out of debt. We are too generous. We are too thoughtless. There has been an immense amount of means spent for educational purposes. It is a good thing, if we do not get an artificial education. I regard the education of the world as an artificial education. You do not see faith manifested; you do not see the power of God manifested. You have a people that are lifted up because of their scholastic attainments, like men are lifted up when they acquire the riches of this world. They are lifted up in pride, and think themselves better than those who have not been so fortunate as themselves to obtain that class of an education. I say it is an artificial education. If we are going to redeem Zion, we will have to redeem it by faith. And Zion could be redeemed today if we would live the principles of the Gospel. But as long as we are hearers of the word and we do not do the will of the Lord, Zion will never be redeemed by us. It will be redeemed by the laws of the celestial kingdom. If we cannot live the laws of the terrestrial kingdom, how is it possible we can attain to celestial glory? If we cannot live the conditions that lead to the celestial glory, we cannot obtain it. If we cannot live the principles that lead to the terrestrial glory, we cannot attain to it.
This Gospel of the kingdom is to every individual, whether they are Jew or Gentile, bond or free, Catholic or Protestant. It is the word of the Lord to them to cease from all their evil ways, and all their false worship, and from teaching for commandments the doctrines of men; for the Lord has stretched forth His hand again. As He declared by the Prophet Isaiah:
“For as much as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honor me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men;
“Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvelous work and a wonder; for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid.” [Isa. 29:13-14.]
Here is an object lesson the gathering of this people today at this Conference, under the shadow of a Temple of God, pointing to the nations that God has restored His Priesthood and given authority to men to officiate in the ordinances of the House of the Lord. Here is the fulfillment of the prophecy:
“And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it.
“And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths.” [Isa. 2:2-3.]
That is what I came here for. That is what my fellow laborers came here for. We came to this country to learn the ways of God and to walk in His paths. We had a testimony given unto us in the lands where we were born; God revealed himself unto us by the power of His Spirit, and bore testimony to us that Joseph Smith was sent of God. We testified of this forty-five years ago, and have been testifying of it ever since. We do not beguile the people. We are their friends. We do not teach them incorrect principles, We do not distribute in various counties anti-Catholic tracts or anti-Protestant tracts. We have respect for every man’s opinion. We show him the better way. If he has something good, we show him there is something better. We have the truth, the light and the way, and we invite all mankind to come and assist us in the establishment of the righteousness of God upon the earth.
My beloved brethren and sisters, the Lord requires our appreciation. He wants us to appreciate Him and His loving kindness. He wants us to acknowledge His hand in all things. He wants our hearts. He wants us to love Him and keep His commandments. This is the word of the Lord, will we do it? Will we cease from our contention? Will we cease from our backbiting, our evil speaking? Will we cease from all evil and learn to do right, and walk in the light as He is in the light, that we may have sweet fellowship with each other, and that the blood of Christ may cleanse us from all sin? This is the question that comes to every individual. The word of the Lord is to us individually. Wilt we love Him and keep His commandments, and seek to establish His Zion? It is no use coming to Conference and hearing the word of the Lord unless we do it. There have been powerful testimonies borne here from the commencement, when President Cannon referred to the fulfillment of prophecy. It is common amongst us, We have the testimony of Jesus and it is the spirit of prophecy. We do not say this boastingly; we say it because it is true. We understand our own nothingness our own insignificance, and that we are entirely dependent upon God our Eternal Father. We do not profess to any particular virtues; but we are striving to love God and keep His commandments, and to glorify Him in our good works. We preach the Gospel of righteousness; and we are just as much responsible to carry out these principles as those unto whom the word is given through us. The Lord will have our hearts, and He will not allow us to put our affections upon anything that would overshadow our affection for Him.
Let me say, in conclusion, that the principle of tithing is a correct principle. The Lord requires one-tenth of everything that He gives to us. I never heard this principle more simply explained than by one of our good sisters in teaching a Primary class in the Sabbath school. She said to the children, “Supposing your father was to give you ten apples, and he asked you to give one of them back again, and you would not do it, would you not be considered very covetous?” Why, they smiled to think that the father should give them ten apples and they should be unwilling to give him one back again. That is just the position we are in when we are not willing to obey this law. The Lord requires one-tenth of everything that in the dispensation of His Providence He gives unto us. That is all He asks, and that we should have our ears open to the cry of the widow and the fatherless, that we should be generous and large-hearted, that we should not be covetous. Can you not understand this principle? We want to give Him half, or a quarter, or we want to bite a piece off the apple and give it to Him. Anything but what is due Him! Do not, for our own sake, make this record. As we value our happiness and our own advancement, let us be true and faithful in the discharge of our duties, and not rob the Lord our God; for everything that we have is given unto us by Him. And He has declared that if we will love Him and keep His commandments, we shall prosper in the land. Do you believe It? I bear testimony that the law of tithing is true. “Prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.” [Mal. 3:10.]
I can bear testimony to the truth of the remarks of Brother Merrill, that if a man will love God and keep His commandments, He will deliver him from all evil and from all his financial troubles. We exhort the world to do this; but here are a number of people, gathered from the north and the south, the east and the west, and they demonstrate that they do not appreciate it. How do they demonstrate it? By robbing Him in tithes and offerings; by being slothful in their duties; by being indifferent to the magnifying of the Aaronic and Melchisedek Priesthoods. And Zion can never be redeemed under such a condition. I say to all, especially to myself, repent, and let us turn over a new leaf; let us cease our slothfulness, our indifference, and let it be manifest to Almighty God that we appreciate His loving kindness, that we appreciate His redemption, that we appreciate the glorious hope of everlasting lives, in a glorious resurrection, by our works being coupled with our faith to the glory of the Father, through Jesus Christ. Amen.
Elder John Henry Smith
Elder John Henry Smith
Impetus to Mutual Improvement-Organization of home beneficent societies-The crisis in our National affairs.
I do not remember having heard a single word, either read or spoken, by our brethren during this Conference that I did not endorse. It seems to me that each one of the brethren has presented some item that should cause us to reflect seriously upon the goodness and mercy extended unto us by our Heavenly Father. The aged who heard the cry in the land from whence they came, “Come out of her my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues,” should rejoice, and their children and their children’s children should continue in that rejoicing. One suggestion contained in the remarks of Elder Merrill this forenoon, of the brother who would have been pleased to have taken from his swill barrel the food that was applied in the direction of providing for domestic animals, is one, probably, that hosts of young people whose homes have been in this mountain region, cannot as yet fully appreciate. Fathers and mothers of mature years may appreciate this suggestion; some of our brothers and sisters who have been unsuccessful in securing proper labor, within recent years, may have been made to taste in some limited degree these conditions, as did the early Pioneers in their experiences the blessing that a well-stocked swill barrel would present to the hungry man or woman. Each suggestion presented for our consideration during this Conference has been of a practical character, whether applied directly to the temporal conditions that surround us in life or to those conditions that we speak of as spiritual. The labors and ministrations of the past few months by quite an army of young men, under the direction of President Woodruff and his aids, who made a tour of the various Stakes in Zion, and visited the homes of the people, interviewed their sons and their daughters, and awakened an interest in the minds of those sons in those associations established in connection with the work of God, and the calling in, as suggested in the remarks of one of the brethren, of about 13,000 souls, give to us the possibilities of missionary work among the covenant people of God and present before our vision the opportunity to consider the possibilities that attend the spread of the truth among those spirits who have been forgotten and reared among that gathered Israel who have been called to come forth from among the people of the world. Many received and believed the testimonies of our young brethren whose hearts and minds were bent upon arousing to life by nurturing it, the Gospel that had been planted in the breasts of the number that I have named. It cannot be anticipated that the brief but earnest efforts made during the winter season to gather the young men into these associations organized for them can have accomplished all that should be desired in connection with this matter. But it is a matter of joy to those who have been engaged in this ministry, that our Father did sweeten their words and arouse to reflection the hosts of young men who will remain earnest and devoted laborers within this fold, and who, perchance, will be found whenever they will be needed in connection with the development of the work of God, using the talents with which their Maker has endowed them for the furtherance of His purposes. There remains, without doubt, large numbers who may have been aroused temporarily to reflect upon the sacred obligations of the Gospel, and who may have fallen temporarily from grace to be followed by the laborers in these various fields with a devotion and earnestness that shall cause them to continue, at least, to strive to know more fully of the work of God. With their hearts gladdened and their minds aroused, their understandings educated, the spirit of truth distilled upon those minds shall fasten there, that none of them, perchance, may fail in the receipt of the impress of the Spirit of the living God in such form as to brighten their entire lives.
I trust, my brethren and my sisters, fathers and mothers, Bishops and counselors, Presidents of Stakes and High Councilors, that the work that has been inaugurated in this direction which calls from the den of infamy, from the places where loafers congregate and from the places where evil and crime is begotten, through the gathering together of young men and young boys, assailing each man in the spirit of that missionary labor which has called so many during the brief period of the last winter season to at least enroll themselves in the hope of a nobler and better development of themselves, and all maintaining the spirit of that work who have been aroused from the sleep of idleness to the understanding of the relationship of the Holy Spirit, will continue their ministrations until every son and every daughter in Zion, every stranger within her borders in every home shall hear the voice of testimony making its declaration that God indeed does live, and that His holy truths restored in these latter days are surely among the children of men. I trust, my brethren and sisters, that the same spirit that has actuated these young men who have gone forth to prove Zion, to test the faith of parents, to scatter the seeds of life, to point out the way of the Gospel of the Son of God, will have touched your hearts in such form that in no home where the truth of the Gospel has come shall the father or mother, the son or daughter fall in any degree, having received the sweet influence, heard the still small voice of the spirit, to nurture and care for and develop its force and its power within their breasts.
There is another item that I have upon my mind, upon which I wish to speak for a few moments, as I discover in my associations among the people that there is a continuous tendency for our young men, as well as many of our middle aged men, to ally themselves with the various organizations, clubs and societies formed outside of the Church, many of them for the purpose of insurance, that they may be enabled to secure, perchance, a few hundred dollars in the interest of their families, should accident happen them, or in their own interest provided they are enfeebled and unable to discharge the duties and responsibilities that attach to them. It seems to me that in every Stake of Zion there is ample capacity to organize mutual aid societies within our own circles, among our own members, and retain at home any profits that may arise from such organizations. All the organizations of this character within our State are sending off hundreds of dollars to aid in the maintenance of people in other sections of the land. We have the skill, we have the ability, we ought to have the practical common sense, to be able to form and adjust these associations within our own circles. One hundred men, or three hundred, paying their dollar a week or dollar a month into a fund manipulated and managed by themselves, within their own circle, and thus utilize to profit and aid their brother who may be afflicted, or to pay to a sister should a brother be removed from the home circle. As it is, these organizations are receiving their money and sending a certain percentage continuously to the heads of the various societies from which they receive their organizations, and keeping a portion of it possibly at home. I believe that care and attention should be bestowed upon these matters, and the formation of membership in those organizations that look after and guard you in some measure should not occur among the Latter-day Saints, but I would not arouse a spirit of antagonism in this respect. It is just as legitimate, just as proper for you to form your organizations in your circles in which you legitimately move as that others should form them and you pay tribute to them.
I desire to raise my voice in commendation of the position that has been assumed by President McKinley and his cabinet on the question affecting Spain, and to say to you, my brethren and sisters, it should be the prayer of the Latter-day Saints that our nation be preserved from war, and that the efforts to maintain peace should be carried to the utmost limit before bloodshed should be resorted to.
I trust that this feeling pervades the hearts of the people called Latter-day Saints, and that all of us feel within our souls a determination to stand for the principles of right, and sustain our government in every proposition of liberty, justice and mercy and the maintenance of these principles of righteousness, the prevention of the shedding of blood, to the most reasonable extreme. I feel, my brethren and sisters, to thus give utterance to the sentiments of my own heart and mind upon this question, and that the prayers of the people should go up in an appeal that God shall guide the destinies of this great government in such form that its mission of liberty to the human race may be accomplished, in that way that life and property, and happiness and peace, and not bloodshed, shall come to the children of men. We recognize our Father’s purpose in connection with the development of this work, and the world receiving the message we have to bear will be remembered by Him in the wars and rumors of wars that shall exist among the nations, and in the seas heaving themselves beyond their bounds. But we claim, with hands lifted to high heaven, that we believe’ the Constitution of the United States was a revelation from God, and opened the door of liberty in such form that His sons and daughters should be permitted to possess every right and every privilege that mortals should be permitted to enjoy in the flesh.
The extension of these sentiments and these views lie dearest to the heart of every man and every woman who has become conversant with the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, and I trust that we will not permit ourselves in the midst of the excitement that arises to shout for bloodshed, but on the contrary to desire that God shall direct the hand that has been placed to guide the destinies of this nation at the present time, and make the minds of leading men of the nation wise and broad and firm upon the principles of right.
May heaven’s peace and blessing abound in every heart; may God be glorified, the truth spread, liberty increase, justice and mercy abound, is my prayer, in the name of Jesus. Amen.
At the conclusion of Elder Smith’s remarks the great congregation arose and, with the choir, sang, with deep feeling,
“My country ’tis of thee,
Sweet land of Liberty.”
President Wilford Woodruff
President Wilford Woodruff
Origin of Zion’s camps-Notable prophecy by Joseph Smith-Christ to come to the Saints in the mountains.
In 1833 the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was driven out of Jackson County, Mo., for the word of God and testimony of Jesus Christ. There Bishop Partridge was tarred and feathered by the mob. That was the time of the falling of the stars in that country. Soon afterwards Bishop Partridge called for volunteers to go to Kirtland to see the Prophet. Two men volunteered out of those who had been driven from Jackson County. One was Parley P. Pratt and the other was Lyman Wight. They went to Kirtland and laid before the Prophet the circumstances, and the Prophet called these two men, and others, to go abroad and gather up the strength of the Lord’s house and to prepare the camp of Zion. Parley P. Pratt came to my house. I had just been baptized. I was engaged for a year in furnishing lumber by contract. Parley P. Pratt told me it was my duty to lay aside all my temporal matters, go to Kirtland, and join Zion’s camp. I obeyed his counsel. I arrived in Kirtland on Saturday and there met with Joseph and Hyrum Smith in the street. I was introduced to Joseph Smith. It was the first time that I had ever seen him in my life. He invited me home to spend the Sabbath with him, and I did so. They had meeting on Sunday.
On Sunday night the Prophet called on all who held the Priesthood to gather into the little log school house they had there. It was a small house, perhaps 14 feet square. But it held the whole of the Priesthood of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who were then in the town of Kirtland, and who had gathered together to go off in Zion’s camp. That was the first time I ever saw Oliver Cowdery, or heard him speak; the first time I ever saw Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball, and the two Pratts, and Orson Hyde and many others. There were no Apostles in the Church then except Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery. When we got together the Prophet called upon the Elders of Israel with him to bear testimony of this work. Those that I have named spoke, and a good many that I have not named, bore their testimonies. When they got through the Prophet said, “Brethren I have been very much edified and instructed in your testimonies here tonight, but I want to say to you before the Lord, that you know no more concerning the destinies of this Church and kingdom than a babe upon its mother’s lap. You don’t comprehend it.” I was rather surprised. He said “it is only a little handful of Priesthood you see here tonight, but this Church will fill North and South America it will fill the world.” Among other things he said, “it will fill the Rocky Mountains. There will be tens of thousands of Latter-day Saints who will be gathered in the Rocky Mountains, and there they will open the door for the establishing of the Gospel among the Lamanites, who will receive the Gospel and their endowments and the blessings of God. This people will go into the Rocky Mountains; they will there build temples to the Most High. They will raise up a posterity there, and the Latter-day Saints who dwell in these mountains will stand in the flesh until the coming of the Son of Man. The Son of Man will come to them while in the Rocky Mountains.”
I name these things because I want to bear testimony before God, angels and men that mine eyes behold the day, and have beheld for the last fifty years of my life, the fulfillment of that prophecy. I never expected to see the Rocky Mountains when I listened to that man’s voice, but I have, and do today. I will say here that I shall not live to see it, you may not live to see it; but these thousands of Latter-day Saint children that belong to the Sabbath schools, I believe many of them will stand in the flesh when the Lord Jesus Christ visits the Zion of God here in the mountains of Israel. And while I bear testimony before God, angels and men, that mine eyes behold the fulfillment of the revelation given that night, I just as much believe the remaining part of it will be fulfilled as I stand here in the flesh. I rejoice at seeing the progress of the work that lies before us. There is a great work before this people in the fulfillment of these prophecies that have been given. Joseph Smith was full of revelation. He foresaw this people, and this work until it was wound up.
My prayer to God is that we may pursue such a course that we may enjoy and receive all these blessings, and our posterity after us. Amen.
Elder Francis M. Lyman
Elder Francis M. Lyman
The volume of progress increasing-The genius of peace and the spirit of patriotism-Portents of war-Hospitality of southern people-Salvation and life in the Gospel.
The time of this Conference is very precious, but it is sufficient for us to bear our testimonies to one another and to speak of the goodness of the Lord. This is a great day in Zion; a great day for Israel. This is the nucleus of the work of our Heavenly Father. This Tabernacle, this great Temple, this great people gathered together, is the great center for the work of the Lord in the earth, and the honor and the glory shall be the Lord’s and not ours. The work is progressing more rapidly than ever before. We are working harder abroad and at home. The Presidency and the Apostles, and home missionaries and foreign missionaries are all laboring diligently, and their efforts are being crowned with success.
The time will never come, probably, until the Savior appears, when we will not have difficulties to overcome and trials to pass through. We are here for that purpose, and every trial that has been given to us, of every nature, has been for our benefit, and has tended to try and prove us. We may be tried in war as well as in peace, but we should be peacemakers. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.” We want peace. We should preach peace, teach peace, pray for it, live for it, and do everything on earth for peace that is honorable before we engage in war. We love our country. We love our kindred and friends, like other people, and are willing to serve our country; and there is no doubt, if the difficulties are to commence at the house of the Lord, that the Latter-day Saints will be proven in this regard. So far, we have not had occasion to engage in the wars of our country to any very great extent, but when we have been called upon we have always responded; and if our nation should be in trouble today, as it seems to be threatened, the government of our country will find as generous a response from this State as from any other state in the Union, according to the number of the people; for we love the institutions of liberty and of freedom. But we want peace, because we are a peaceable people, and we want to preach the Gospel that has been restored to us. The authority of the Lord has been conferred upon us that the Gospel may be preached among all nations. That is our mission, and we don’t want war. The mothers don’t want war. The fathers don’t want war. We wish to avoid it if it can possibly be done. We desire to be numbered among the peacemakers who shall be called the children of God. Our faith should be exercised to obtain peace and to maintain it in the earth; for war is terrible. It was terrible when there was war in heaven, and the rebels were overcome and cast out, and then peace reigned there. War may come to our country. Rumors of wars are heard in every land. We will see what the Savior says in regard to this matter:
“For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
“And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple; and His disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple.
“And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? Verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.
“And as He sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto Him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of Thy coming, and of the end of the world?
“And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.
“For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.
“And ye shall hear of wars, and rumors of wars; see that ye be not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.
“For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes in divers places.
“All these are the beginning of sorrows.”
“Watch, therefore; for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.
“But know this, that if the good man of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up.
“Therefore be ye also ready; for in such an hour as ye think not, the Son of Man cometh.
“Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season?
“Blessed is that servant, whom his lord, when he cometh, shall find so doing.
“Verily I say unto you. That he shall make him ruler over all his goods.
“But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming;
“And shall begin to smite his fellow-servants and to eat and drink with the drunken;
“The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of,
“And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
We have heard today from President Woodruff the words of the Prophet Joseph, spoken sixty-five years ago. He told at that time what we see today, and that this is the preparation of the people of God for the coming of the Lord upon the earth. And He will come, and His coming will not be delayed. The end, however, is not yet, but approaches. And it is important that those who have received authority from heaven should be like watch-men upon the walls of Zion, and speak forth to the multitude when God commands, and say, be not troubled, for the end is not yet. Be not troubled because there are wars and rumors of wars in the earth, for these things must be; but let us attend to our labor and let us pray that this cup of trouble and war may pass, because it would be terrible. It always has been terrible and it will always be, to the end, when wars and trouble come. Christians should always pray and labor for peace. The last thing for Christians to ever do is to fight for peace.
When I listened to President Smith this morning relating the experience of an Elder who had been traveling here without purse and scrip, and how generously he was treated, I could not help but remember how not only one Elder was treated in the Southern States, but how the Elders were treated by the forties not in a city like Salt Lake City, but in the country where people were sparsely settled. They would take in forty and fifty of us at a time, and they were not Latter-day Saints either. They would feed us, and lodge us, take care of us and move us for four days at a time. They did this in numbers of instances in the Southern States. The Elders there are feeling splendidly, and their influence among the people and the officials of the country is good. The great change that has been wrought in the hearts of the people in that country is remarkable, since President Woodruff announced, at the dedication of the Salt Lake Temple, that that great change would come. It has come, and the word of God through him has been fulfilled and continues to be fulfilled and will be to the very letter. The words of the Lord will all be verified that are contained in this sacred book (the Bible), though infidels and others may war upon it, it is the truth, it is the word of God. Men may do as they please with it, but it contains the truth. And it contains the history of the dealings of God with His children. The same is true with regard to the Book of Mormon and the Book of Doctrine and Covenants. Men will war upon them, as they have upon the Bible, but they will not war any more successfully or industriously. For these books, be it known, contain the words of the Lord. I bear my testimony to their truth and divinity, and to the divinity of the mission of the Prophet Joseph Smith, and of the mission of the Prophet Brigham Young, and of President John Taylor and of President Wilford Woodruff, Prophets of the Lord, and their brethren who are here. I bear testimony to the divinity of your mission as well as ours. For your mission is just as sacred as ours. You are the children of God. You have had His testimony and spirit burning in your souls. He has endowed you richly with it all of us more generously than we deserve. He has thus led us and He has established and settled us in the truth.
In the doctrines of the Gospel there is salvation and life, and they meet every requirement of the human heart. There is not a thing that the soul of man or woman needs in this life, or in the life to come, that is not met in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and this organization which is so perfect and so complete. We can therefore afford to be generous. I did thank the Lord when I was in the Southern States and in the Eastern and Northern States, that I could stand before those people and invite their ministers to come to Utah and we would offer them congregations and an auditorium such as cannot be found elsewhere in the United States. We invite them to come and lay their doctrines before the people. We want to know what the doctrine of the world is. We don’t want the people kept in ignorance of what there is in the earth. If it were so would we be found putting, today, in our magazine for the young people, what we are publishing the doctrines of Catholics and of Protestants of every denomination, written from their own standpoint, and laying them before the people? Our pulpits are open to all men of reputable standing in the world, who are made welcome to talk to us. It gave us strength and an influence in the earth to be able to state these facts. Why, there is no such sight to be seen in the world as this Tabernacle of the Lord. There is nothing to compare with it. In its design it is remarkable. Just realize what has been accomplished by a poor people. And if we be poor today, the way is open to us to have all the means we need. We should retrench in our living, and save means. There is means in abundance and to spare among the Latter-day Saints today, to meet all the obligations of individuals and of the people generally. And we ought to so order our lives in harmony with the instructions given us today by Elder Merrill, which are so choice, that we may meet our obligations. Let those who have ample themselves assist those who have not. And let them live together as one family and bring salvation to each and all. The very Words of Wisdom given to us for the temporal salvation of the people would, in three years, meet all the obligations of this Church and of every member in it, if we would observe that counsel. Not only to save the means that are spent for tea, coffee, tobacco and liquor, but to eat less of meats and let the meat be sold to others, and let us live upon the fruits and vegetables. There is a fortune in these things for the people, and in this way we can easily become free. We ought to be the most independent people upon the face of the earth for means of every kind.
I pray the Lord to bless you, my brethren and sisters, and to bless us during this Conference. Oh, how I thank the Lord whenever President Woodruff stands up and talks to the Church! And we want that voice for so many years yet to remain among us. We do not want his voice stilled. For the voices of the others of the older ones have been stilled who bore the Apostleship in the days of the Prophet Joseph. President Woodruff is the only man living that enjoyed that honor during the life of the Prophet Joseph. Let me exhort you, my brethren and sisters, to be indeed Latter-day Saints. Take care of yourselves individually and be Saints of God; and remember if we do not survive until the coming of the Son of Man, we are then, anyway, in the very condition we ought to be in to pass away. We are ready to die and to meet the Lord. It is as necessary that we should be ready to meet Him on the other side, as to be prepared for Him at His coming here. But He will come, and He will come in the presence of the nations of the earth. They shall know it and shall fear and tremble at the coming of the great God to reign upon the earth. This is my testimony to you and to the world. And I speak as one who is authorized thus to speak of the Son of God, the Redeemer of the world. God bless you. Amen.
“The Holy City,” was beautifully sung by Brother George D. Pyper.
The choir and congregation sang:
Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow.
Conference adjourned till 10 a. m. Sunday, April 11th.
Benediction by Patriarch John Smith.
Fourth Day-Morning Session
Fourth Day-Morning Session
Sunday, April 10th, 10 a.m.
The choir and congregation sang the hymn commencing:
Now let us rejoice in the day of salvation:
No longer as strangers on earth need we roam;
Good tidings are sounding to us and each nation.
And shortly the hour of redemption will come.
Prayer by Elder Orson Smith.
Singing by the choir of the hymn which begins:
Lo! the mighty God appearing,
From on high Jehovah speaks!
Eastern lands the summons hearing,
O’er the west His thunder breaks.
Earth behold Him!
Universal nature speaks.
President Lorenzo Snow
President Lorenzo Snow
Contemplation of past and present-Preparation for the future-Saving results of self-denial-Existence and progress of man eternal-Magnanimity of Moses and fidelity of Abraham-The return to Missouri.
Brethren and sisters, for our instruction this morning, in part at least, I will read some paragraphs in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants:
“My disciples, in days of old, sought occasion against one another, and forgave not one another in their hearts, and for this evil they were afflicted, and sorely chastened;
“Wherefore I say unto you, that ye ought to forgive one another, for he that forgiveth not his brother his trespasses, standeth condemned before the Lord, for there remaineth in him the greater sin. (Doc. and Cov., Sec. 64, pars. 8 and 9.)
‘For whoso is faithful unto the obtaining these two Priesthoods of which I have spoken, and the magnifying their calling, are sanctified by the Spirit unto the renewing of their bodies;
“They become the sons of Moses and of Aaron and the seed of Abraham, and the church and kingdom, and the elect of God;
“And also all they who receive this Priesthood receiveth me, saith the Lord;
“For he that receiveth my servants receiveth me;
“And he that receiveth me receiveth my Father;
“And he that receiveth my Father, receiveth my Father’s kingdom; therefore all that my Father hath shall be given unto him;
“And this is according to the oath and covenant which belongeth to the Priesthood.
“Therefore, all those who receive the Priesthood, receiveth this oath and covenant of my Father, which he cannot break, neither can it be moved.” (Doc. and Cov., Sec. 84, pars. 33 to 40.)
With the exercise of your faith, I wish to say a few words, perhaps not altogether in connection with what I have read, but as the Spirit shall dictate. I always feel very dependent and humble when I stand before and attempt to address a people that have been serving the Lord and, at least as a general thing, are worthy to be called Latter-day Saints, a people that have received a knowledge of the things of God, and are moving onward in the path of exaltation and glory to the fulness of their salvation. As I believe, when we come together as we have this beautiful morning, it becomes our privilege to receive instruction from those persons that address us, and if we do not the fault, generally, is in ourselves. It is our privilege as Latter-day Saints to seize upon those opportunities that are afforded us to make a proper preparation for the scenes that are before us and in which we may be called to act; and as the difficulties which we have to meet shall increase upon us perhaps and become harder to overcome, we need more strength in order to resist the temptations and to discharge the obligations that devolve upon us. I suppose it would be with Latter-day Saints generally as with me in regard to this point that as we advance in years and come nearer to what we generally consider as the time of our departure into the other life we are more inclined to devote our thoughts and reflections upon those things that we anticipate we may receive in the next life, the circumstances that may surround us there, and the proper preparation that we have made and are making to reach that which we anticipate. I know it is so with me. In my 85th year it naturally occurs to me that it is very well to take into consideration these matters, and deeply too; to reflect upon the past, to see whether we have improved the opportunities along the line of our trade, and been making the proper preparation; and if we have not done this, to seek now to make amends with double diligence. We have a perfect right to understand something of what we may receive in the other life. We have to suffer almost everything in accomplishing the duties that are imposed upon us in moving along in this line that we have chosen. In the past, if we had time we might relate the various sacrifices the Latter-day Saints have been called to make; and if they did not make these sacrifices their own consciences would condemn them, because of the light which they had received and the knowledge they had of what they should do. It has proved very truly with the Latter-day Saints what Jesus said on a certain occasion, when He compared the kingdom of God to a man seeking pearls. Having found one of very great value, he went and sold all that he possessed that he might secure that pearl. Then again He compared it unto a man that found a treasure in a field, which, having found, he went and sold everything that he possessed in order that he might come in possession of that treasure. That has been the case with the Latter-day Saints. We have been called to suffer and to sacrifice that which was more dear to ourselves than our lives, and some have been called to sacrifice their mortal existence, having been placed in circumstances that they could not avoid suffering the loss of their lives. We are called upon daily to make sacrifices. The Lord requiring this at our hands, and we as a general thing having complied, it is our privilege to know something in regard to the future what will be the result of this sacrifice, what will be the result of traveling upon this path. Indeed a Latter-day Saint can hardly sustain himself in the Church of God unless he does get some knowledge of this kind, that cannot be unfolded by common wisdom. We are no better than other people if this be not so.
I have read something that is very peculiar in regard to the promises that are made, and which I know will be fulfilled, if we on our part do our duty. I have not lived in this Church for about sixty-two years without finding out something. I devoted myself to be worthy to receive something that no mortal man can receive except through the spirit and power of the Holy Ghost, and the Lord has shown me things and made me to understand them as clearly as the sun at noonday in regard to what shall be the outcome of those Latter-day Saints that are faithful to their callings. Jesus says:
“He that receiveth me receiveth my Father;
“And he that receiveth my Father, receiveth my Father’s kingdom, therefore all that my Father hath shall be given unto him.”
This is in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants. Now, if it were in the New Testament some people, though they might not understand it, would pass it as being true, because it was in the Bible. Well, I am just as sure of its truth as if it were found in the New Testament. And the New Testament bears us out in this doctrine. Jesus said, as recorded in the Revelation of St. John:
“To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me on my throne even as I also overcame, and am sat down with my Father in his throne.”
There are many Scriptures bearing upon this point. I believe in this. I believe that we are the sons and daughters of God, and that He has bestowed upon us the capacity for infinite wisdom and knowledge, because He has given us a portion of Himself, we are told that we were made in His own image, and we find that there is a character of immortality in the soul of man. There is a spiritual organism within this tabernacle, and that spiritual organism has a divinity in itself, though perhaps in an infantile state; but it has within itself the capability of improving and advancing, as the infant that receives sustenance from its mother. Though the infant may be very ignorant, yet there are possibilities in it that by passing through the various ordeals of childhood to maturity enable it to rise to a superiority that is perfectly marvellous, compared with its infantile ignorance. Why and how is it that this is accomplished? Because it possesses the susceptibilities and the capabilities of its father. So in regard to ourselves. There is a divinity within ourselves that is immortal and never dies. Thousands and thousands of years hence we will be ourselves, and nobody else, so far as our individuality is concerned. That never dies from all eternity to all eternity. Immortality never dies, and it is immortal. We are as children growing and increasing in knowledge and wisdom. Some men we read of, like Elijah, Elisha, Samuel, or Moses, great prophets, advanced themselves to that degree of knowledge, and develop their immortal possibilities to an extent that is perfectly astonishing. And you and I will have to advance in this line until we control those things that the world cannot possibly do.
As I read here, there was one thing that the disciples of the Savior did not accomplish they did not succeed in establishing that union of spirit and feeling that they ought to have had, and the Lord chastened them for it. The Lord requires that men should forgive one another, even seventy times seven. And even If the party does not ask forgiveness, we are to forgive for a certain number of times. He that forgives not his brother, we are told, there remaineth in him the greater sin that is, he is a greater sinner than the person that offended him. The Lord requires us to love our neighbor as we do ourselves a pretty difficult matter under many circumstances; but we will have to reach that point of perfection, and we will reach it. Moses, through the divinity that was always with him, did some extraordinary things. The people of Israel had abused him in every condition. They continually went contrary to his counsel, and on a certain occasion they appointed a captain to take them back into Egyptian bondage. It was as much as he could possibly bear to put up with their indignities. Finally the Lord became angry, His patience became exhausted, and He made up His mind that He would destroy every one of them, except Moses, and He would take him and make him what he proposed to do with Israel a mighty nation. There are very few in these days but would have jumped at that opportunity, to become as it were the starter of a new world, of a mighty and an everlasting kingdom. That was proposed to Moses by the Lord. Well, Moses had educated himself by the spirit of God that he was able to act in that way that he might save the house of Israel on that very extraordinary occasion. He called upon the Lord with mighty faith, and conversed with Him. He tried to explain to Him that it was not a good proposition at the least. He argued with Him as one man argues with another. How was he capable of doling this? Why, he had seen God face to face, as some men have seen Him in these latter days, and he knew that he could reason and talk with Him. He told the Lord that if He did what He proposed destroy Israel the nations around would say that He had undertaken a task that He could not succeed in accomplishing. Well, the Lord changed His mind, so it reads, and did not that which He had intended to do. Now, whether the Lord had a disposition in this matter to try Moses, may be a question; but the distinct understanding with Moses was that if He did not plead with the Lord all Israel would be destroyed. It was the divinity within Moses, brought up to such a high point, that enabled him to do this. There was a divinity within Abraham also. No mortal man could have done what Abraham did taking up on Mount Moriah his only son as a sacrifice except he were inspired and had a divinity within him to receive that inspiration. We read of these extraordinary manifestations in the lives of the prophets. We find men at the present day that never could have done what they have done, never could have made the sacrifices they have, unless there had been a receiving and comprehending of the language of divinity the Spirit.
As to our receiving these wonderful things about which I have read to you, I am just as sure of it as I am that I am talking to you today. Although it seems marvelous, it is here so stated, and I know the Lord tells that which is true. When He gives comfort to His Saints in His promises, those promises when fulfilled are vastly greater than the words seem to have indicated. President Woodruff could not have gone through the scenes that he has, and come out alive as He has, unless there had been a divinity within him a part of God himself receiving and understanding that divine Spirit that came to him and enabling him to accomplish what he has. Other men might be mentioned in the same way. Joseph Smith, the Prophet, with whom I was intimately acquainted for years, as well as I was with my brother, I know him to have been a man of integrity, a man devoted to the interests of humanity and to the requirements of God all the days in which he was permitted to live. There never was a man that possessed a higher degree of integrity and more devotedness to the interest of mankind than the Prophet Joseph Smith. I can say this from a personal acquaintance with him.
Latter-day Saints, we have had a lovely Conference, and the weather has been very beautiful. The Lord has blessed us abundantly. Here we are, gathered from many of the nations of the earth, and it has been a most marvelous accomplishment. God alone could have accomplished it. And the prospects before us are grand and glorious. The time is speedily coming we do not want to talk very much, though, about going to Jackson County, Missouri, because through our foolishness and weakness we would not care anything about building houses and making ourselves comfortable here. I know when we first started a colony in Brigham City, the people generally thought it was nonsense, perfectly useless, to plant peach trees, apple trees, currant bushes and the like, because we were going to Jackson County so speedily; and it was with the utmost effort that we were enabled to disabuse them of this idea. We are not going tomorrow, nor next day, this week or next week; but we are going, and there are many hundreds and hundreds within the sound of my voice that will live to go back to Jackson County and build a holy temple to the Lord our God. Be prepared to do these things that have been taught us during this Conference, and make ourselves worthy, and we will receive everything that I have read to you in this section. We have not time to explain these things. We bear our testimony in regard to what we know, and what God has done for us, and what we hope to do with His assistance, and leave it in that way.
God bless you, Latter-day Saints. We love to serve you, and to do everything that the Lord enables us to do, because we expect to be together in the other life, from all eternity to all eternity. May God help us, in the name of Jesus. Amen.
At the conclusion of President Snow’s discourse the choir sang:
O, my Father Thou that dwellest,
In the high and glorious place!
When shall I regain Thy presence,
And again behold Thy face?
In Thy holy habitation
Did my spirit once reside;
In my first primeval childhood
Was I nurtured near Thy side?
President Joseph F. Smith
President Joseph F. Smith
The oath and covenant of the Priesthood The promise to those who abide conditions The fate of those who wholly renounce them The house of God a house of order His will as conveyed through His servants should be obeyed Anonymous false accusers.
My brethren and sisters, I desire the faith, the goodwill and the prayers of my hearers, that I may be able to speak the truth, and that the Lord may give me a knowledge of His will, that what I say may be in accordance therewith and for the benefit of all of us. If I should fail to speak toward that pillar in front, I ask my brethren behind me to call me to order; for it is one of my failings to turn to the right and to the left when I am speaking. Not that I am disobedient in my spirit, but I do not bear in mind always that which is for the best good.
I will take the liberty of re-reading a portion of the Scripture that was read this morning by President Lorenzo Snow; not that I expect to throw any additional light upon the subject, but may perhaps continue it to some little extent:
“For whoso is faithful unto the obtaining of these two Priesthoods of which I have spoken, and the magnifying their calling, are sanctified by the Spirit unto the renewing of their bodies;
“They become the sons of Moses and of Aaron and the seed of Abraham, and the Church and kingdom, and the elect of God;
“And also all they who receive this Priesthood receiveth me, saith the Lord;
“For he that receiveth my servants receiveth me;
“And he that receiveth me receiveth my Father;
“And he that receiveth my Father, receiveth my Father’s kingdom; therefore all that my Father hath shall be given unto him;
“And this is according to the oath and covenant which belongeth to the Priesthood.
“Therefore, all those who receive the Priesthood, receive this oath and covenant of my Father, which he cannot break, neither can it be moved;
“But whoso breaketh this covenant, after he hath received it, and altogether turneth therefrom, shall not have forgiveness of sins in this world nor in the world to come.”
This makes a very serious matter of receiving this covenant and this Priesthood; for those who receive it must, like God himself, abide in it, and must not fall, and must not be moved out of the way; for those who receive this oath and covenant and turn away from it, and cease to do righteously and to honor this covenant, and will to abide in sin, and repent not, there is no forgiveness for them either in this life or in the world to come. That is the language of this book, and this is doctrine and truth which was revealed from God to men through the instrumentality of Joseph Smith the Prophet. And this word is reliable. It is God’s word, and God’s word is truth; and it becomes necessary for all those who enter into this covenant to understand this word, that they may indeed abide in it, and may not be turned out of the way.
In connection with this Scripture which I have read, I will take the liberty of reading a little more, upon a similar subject, from the Book of Mormon. And while these words which I shall now read were the words of a Prophet who lived anciently upon this continent, and were given before the coming of Christ in the flesh, and before the Gospel was established in its fullness, with the Holy Priesthood, in the earth, yet it relates to the same oath and covenant that is spoken of in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants.
“And now it came to pass that when king Benjamin had thus spoken to his people, he sent among them, desiring to know of his people, if they believed the words which he had spoken unto them.
“And they all cried with one voice, saying, Yea, we believe all the words which thou hast spoken unto us; and also, we know of their surety and truth, because of the Spirit of the Lord Omnipotent, which has wrought a mighty change in us, or in our hearts that we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually.”
What a glorious condition was this! a condition in which the Lord God Omnipotent, by the power of His Spirit, had wrought a mighty change in the hearts of that people, that they no longer had any desire to do evil, but were filled only with a fervent desire to do that which was good. This was indeed a great change, and yet it is precisely that change that comes today to every son and daughter of God who repents of his or her sins, who humble themselves before the Lord, and who seek forgiveness and remission of sin by baptism by immersion, by one having authority to administer this sacred ordinance of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For it is this new birth that was spoken of by Christ to Nicodemus as absolutely essential that men might see the Kingdom of God, and without which no man could enter into the Kingdom. Each of us can remember, perhaps, the change that came into our hearts when we were baptized for the remission of our sins. Perhaps it is not proper for one to speak of himself or of his own experiences, because there may be those within the sound of my voice who object to a man speaking of himself, and especially when he shall say any good of himself; yet I speak not of myself, I speak of the influence and power of the Holy Spirit that I experienced when I had been baptized for the remission of my sins. The feeling that came upon me was that of pure peace, or love and of light. I felt in my soul that if I had sinned and surely I was not without sin that it had been forgiven me; that I was indeed cleansed from sin; my heart was touched and I felt that I would not injure the smallest insect beneath my feet. I felt as though I wanted to do good everywhere to everybody and to everything. I felt a newness of life, a newness of desire to do that which was right. There was not one particle of desire for evil left in my soul. I was but a little boy, it is true, when I was baptized; but this was the influence that came upon me, and I know that it was from God, and was and ever has been a living witness to me of my acceptance of the Lord.
Oh! that I could have kept that same spirit and that same earnest desire in my heart every moment of my life from that day to this. Yet many of us who have received that witness, that new birth, that change of heart, while we may have erred in judgment or have made many mistakes, and often perhaps come short of the true standard in our lives, we have repented of the evil, and we have sought from time to time forgiveness at the hand of the Lord; so that until this day the same desire and purpose which pervaded our souls when we were baptized and received a remission of our sins still holds possession of our hearts, and is still the ruling sentiment and passion of our souls. Though we may at times be stirred to anger, and our wrath move us to say and do things which are not pleasing in the sight of God, yet instantly, on regaining our sober senses and recovering from our lapse into the power of darkness, we feel humble, repentant, and to ask forgiveness for the wrong that we have done to ourselves, and perchance to others. The great, earnest, overwhelming desire, which is born of the truth and of the witness of the Holy Spirit, in the hearts of the people who obey the truth, assumes sway and again takes possession of our souls, to lead us on in the path of duty. This is my testimony, and I know it is true.
“And we, ourselves, also, through the infinite goodness of God, and the manifestations of His Spirit, have great views of that which is to come; and were it expedient, we could prophesy of all things.
“And it is the faith which we have had on the things which our king has spoken unto us, that has brought us to this great knowledge, whereby we do rejoice with such exceeding great joy.” [Mosiah 5:3-4.]
Here now in the following words is what I wish to call your attention to, it being especially in harmony with the reference I have read from the Doctrine and Covenants in relation to the oath and covenant of the everlasting Priesthood:
“And we are willing to enter into a covenant with our God to do His will, and to be obedient to His commandments in all things, that He shall command us, all the remainder of our days, that we may not bring upon ourselves a never ending torment, as has been spoken by the angel, that we may not drink out of the cup of the wrath of God.
“And now, these are the words which King Benjamin desired of them; and therefore he said unto them, Ye have spoken the words that I desired; and the covenant which ye have made is a righteous covenant.” [Mosiah 5:5-6.]
Surely, it is a righteous covenant. It could not be other than a righteous covenant; for the covenant was with God, to do His will, to be obedient to His commandments in all things all the remainder of their days. Certainly this is good; this is a proper covenant to make on the part of fallible man, and it is an eternal covenant, entered into with that Eternal God who deals with His children not as temporal or mortal beings, who appear to live but a short span in the earth and then pass away, but who deals with reference to the immortality of their being. There is nothing that God has done for the children of men that is solely of a temporal character. He deals with us with a view to our eternal being, our immortality; with reference to the fact that we are His children, or ought to be, and will be when we enter into this covenant and obtain the change of heart which entering into this covenant is sure to bring to the honest in heart.
“And now, because of the covenant which ye have made, ye shall be called the children of Christ, His sons, and His daughters; for behold, this day He hath spiritually begotten you; for ye say that your hearts are changed through faith in His name; therefore, ye are born of Him, and have become His sons and His daughters.
“And under this head, ye are made free, and there is no other head whereby ye can be made free. There is no other name given whereby salvation cometh; therefore, I would that ye should take upon you the name of Christ, all you that have entered into the covenant with God, that ye should be obedient unto the end of your lives.
“And it shall come to pass that whosoever doeth this, shall be found at the right hand of God, for he shall know the name by which he is called; for he shall be called by the name of Christ.” [Mosiah 5:7-9.]
Think of that! Who understands its import, the scope of its meaning? “Ye shall be called by the name of Christ.”
“And now it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall not take upon them the name of Christ, must be called by some other name; therefore, he findeth himself on the left hand of God.
“And I would that ye should remember also, that this is the name that I said I should give unto you that never should be blotted out, except it be through transgression; therefore, take heed that ye do not transgress, that the name be not blotted out of your hearts.” [Mosiah 5:10-11.]
In other words, as the Doctrine and Covenants has it:
“Therefore, all those who receive the Priesthood, receive this oath and covenant of my Father, which he cannot break, neither can it be moved;
“But whose breaketh this covenant, after he hath received it, and altogether turneth therefrom, shall not have forgiveness of sins in this world nor in the world to come.”
I wish to admonish this vast concourse of people to take this great truth to their hearts. Let it take possession of your minds, think upon it, consider well your standing, and your continuance in repentance and the remission of sins, and in the love of truth, and in the earnest desire to do right and forsake all evil. Consider yourselves and see whether you have transgressed this great covenant into which you have entered, because if you have and you do not repent of it, but continue in disobedience to this covenant, and choose to remain in sin, then, as God lives, and as He has spoken in His word, there is no forgiveness for you in this world nor in the world to come. If God’s word is true at all, then this is true; and it applies to such of us as have entered into the new and everlasting covenant, having been born again, or spiritually begotten of Christ, and having become the sons and daughters of God.
I continue from the Book of Mormon:
“I say unto you, I would that ye should remember to retain the name written always in your hearts, that ye are not found on the left hand of God, but that ye hear and know the voice by which ye shall be called, and also, the name by which He shall call you;
“For how knoweth a man the master whom he has not served, and who is a stranger unto him, and is far from the thoughts and intents of his heart?
“And again: Doth a man take an ass which belongeth to his neighbor, and keep him? I say unto you, Nay; he will not even suffer that he shall feed among his flocks, but will drive him away, and cast him out. I say unto you, even so shall it be among you, if ye know not the name by which ye are called.
“Therefore, I would that ye should be steadfast and immovable, always abounding in good works, that Christ, the Lord God Omnipotent, may seal you his, that you may be brought to heaven, that ye may have everlasting salvation and eternal life, through the wisdom, the power, and justice, and mercy of Him, who created all things, in heaven and in earth, who is God above all. Amen.” [Mosiah 5:12-15.]
There is a great deal of this kind of instruction contained within the lids of this sacred book, which it would be well for us as believers in Christ, as sons and daughters of God, having been spiritually begotten by Him, having been born anew, and the old man of sin having been put away, the carnal, devilish and sensual desires of our human natures having been subdued or conquered and banished from our souls and the new desire for righteousness and purity having been begotten within us, that we have been redeemed from the spiritual death which came upon our first parents, and which by reason of the fall is upon all flesh until they repent of their sins and receive a remission of them by baptism, or by the new birth that is, by the birth of the water and of the Spirit; for the birth of the Spirit comes by or through the birth of the water, and the gift of the Holy Ghost. We are first required to be buried with Christ in baptism, typical of His death and burial, burying the “old man” with his sensual and devilish nature, and rising to a newness of life, and thus by the spiritual baptism which follows through the laying on of hands we become a son or a daughter of God, an heir of God and a joint heir with Jesus Christ. It is through this ordinance that men are begotten spiritually. It is the door through which Jesus himself passed. He is the door, the light and the life of the word; and if anyone enter by Him, then shall he have eternal life; but whose attempteth to get through in any other way shall be counted a thief and a robber, and we may well judge how far he will succeed.
This is the Gospel that we have covenanted to obey. We have entered into the bond of that new and everlasting covenant agreeing that we would obey the commandments of God in all things whatsoever He shall command us. This is an everlasting covenant even unto the end of our days. And when is the end of our days? We may think it has reference to the end of our mortal life; that a time will come after we have finished this probation when we can live without obedience to the commandments of God. This is a great error. We shall never see the day, in time nor eternity, when it will not be obligatory, and when it will not be a pleasure as well as a duty, for us as His children, to obey all the commandments of the Lord throughout the endless ages of eternity. It is upon this principle that we keep in touch with God, and remain in harmony with His purposes. It is only in this way that we can consummate our mission, and obtain our crown and the gift of eternal lives, which is the greatest gift of God. Can you imagine any other way?
God has established all things in their order. The house of God is a house of order, and not a house of confusion. In this house, God himself is the supreme head, and He must be obeyed. Christ is in the image and likeness of His being, His begotten Son, and He stands as our Saviour and our God. We must walk in His paths, and observe His precepts to do them, or we will be cut off. Next unto God and Christ, in the earth is placed one unto whom the keys of power and the authority of the Holy Priesthood are conferred, and unto whom the right of presidency is given. He is God’s mouthpiece to His people, in all things pertaining to the building up of Zion and to the spiritual and temporal salvation of the people. He is as God’s vicegerent; I do not hesitate to announce this truth; for it is His word, and therefore it is true. The people who have entered into covenant to keep the commandments of the Lord must hearken unto the voice of him who is placed to preside over them; and secondarily, to those who are called to act with him as his counselors in the Holy Priesthood. It takes this council of three to constitute the presiding and governing authority of the Priesthood in the earth. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost, constitute the Godhead and the matchless governing quorum over all the creations of the Father. Three men stand at the head of the Church on the earth. Yet there are those who call themselves Saints who hesitate not to rise up in condemnation of and to express words of hatred and malice toward these men who stand at the head of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints! Of course, they often do it clandestinely; ashamed of their own acts, too cowardly to attach their names to their own writings; but they nevertheless rise up against these men whose only thought is to do good to all mankind, whose greatest care is for the welfare of the people of the Lord, and whose constant endeavor is to unite them and cause them to labor, each in his place and calling, to help build up Zion. They earnestly desire that every man shall be a working bee in “the hive of Deseret,” in the house of God. If any man feels offended at me, let him come to me like a man, and tell me wherein I have done wrong, and thus give me a chance to explain myself. I am ashamed of some people who profess to be Latter-day Saints. I have on my desk anonymous letters, teeming with a spirit of violence, hatred, malice and condemnation toward me, and my brethren, especially toward President Cannon and myself, for what we have never done, or thought of doing in the world, condemning us for evils that exist only in their own wicked imaginations; for no man with the Spirit of God in his heart will ever condemn these men openly, in secret or through anonymous letters, numbers of which are sent to us from time to time. Pardon me for referring to this matter, because it is perhaps trivial; but I look upon the authors of anonymous letters as sneaks, as cowards of the lowest type, as among the meanest of God’s creatures. If a man has any fault to find with me, let him come to me; or if he has any fault to find with Brother Cannon, let him go to him. Let him pour out his grievances to us, and give us a chance to explain or to make reparation if we have done wrong; and let him not cowardly hide himself behind a nom de plume, or anonymous letters breathing wrath and vengeance toward the servants of the Lord and of the people. We have to reprove sometimes in sharpness; but if by reproving we have wounded them unnecessarily, we will pour out a double portion of the balm of meekness, humility and love toward them, that we my heal the wounds we have made, just as the Prophet has said in the last section of the Doctrine and Covenants. Read it for yourselves.
Now, these thoughts have simply come to me on the spur of the moment They may have been unnecessary altogether. But I feel justified, so far as I am concerned, in making these remarks. If these threatening letters were from backsliders or antagonistic Gentiles, we would not be surprised; but when they come signed “Your brother in the Gospel” we suppose, though of course we do not know, that they come from men who profess to be Latter-day Saints.
The other day I spoke of counsel that was often given to some of our poor brethren who were seeking work; among other things, that they should go out into the new parts of the country and take up land, cultivate the soil, and build themselves up among beginners in new settlements, and thereby establish homes for themselves. I have been told that I had better try the medicine myself. Now, I want to tell those who do not know it that I have tried that very medicine. The first plow that I plowed with in this valley was made from wagon tires. We did not have any plows from the East. It was all we could do to bring ourselves into this valley with sufficient to keep soul and body together when I came here in 1848. We then fed on close rations until the Lord gave us the fruits of our labors from the soil. I know what it is to go out on to the deserts and break up the barren ground, and then go to the creeks and make ditches to convey the water from their natural channels upon the soil. I know what it is to earn my living by the sweat of my brow. I have done it before; and if the Lord wills, and will give me strength to do it, I can do it again. I am not above doing it, if the Lord requires it. I believe there is no labor on earth more essential to the well-being of a community or more honorable than the labor which is necessary to produce food from mother earth. It is one of the most noble occupations. And next to it is the tending of the flocks of sheep and cattle. This is another noble occupation, if it is only carried on properly and righteously. These are the foundation of the prosperity of every community in the world. When the farming community is prosperous, when the Lord blesses the earth and makes it fruitful, then the blacksmith, the carpenter, and those who follow other pursuits, will also be prosperous. But when the earth refuses to yield of its strength for the good of mankind, then all other business is stagnant and will languish. Therefore, let us till the earth; let us cultivate the soil; let us produce our own living out of the earth, by the blessing of God, as far as we possibly can, always keeping in mind that we have entered into a solemn covenant with God, which is an eternal covenant, and from which He cannot depart or be moved, and which we can only fail in by ourselves transgressing that new and everlasting covenant and turning away from it.
God help us to be true and faithful to our calling and standing in His Church, is my prayer in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Singing by the choir:
Though in the outward church below
The wheat and tares together grow,
Jesus e’re long will weed the crop,
And pluck the tares, in anger, up.
Benediction by Elder Joseph E. Taylor.
Fourth Day-Afternoon Session
Fourth Day-Afternoon Session
Assembly hall, 2 p.m.
As the great Tabernacle was not near large enough to accommodate the people, an overflow meeting was held in the Assembly Hall.
The choir singing the hymn which begins
Great God, attend while Zion sings.
Prayer was offered by Elder Willard Done.
The choir sang the hymn,
God moves in a mysterious way,
His wonders to perform.
Elder David H. Cannon
Elder David H. Cannon
I trust that while I shall endeavor to address you, I may have the benefit of your faith, that our Father may suggest words to my mind that will be beneficial to those who are here assembled.
I have rejoiced very much in the testimony of the Holy Spirit that was manifest through the Prophets and Apostles of God who have addressed us during the various meetings of this Conference. And I feel that, so far, it has been to me one of the best Conferences that it has been my privilege to attend, because of the plain manner in which our duties have been made manifest to us as a people. And I felt, when listening to our venerable President Woodruff in his testimony regarding the financial condition of this Church, that I would not only myself endeavor to do my duty and pay my tithes and offerings, but that I would use my influence with those whom I associate with in the Stake where my labor calls me, to get others to do likewise. For I believe it to be a veritable truth that if we as a people would draw near unto the Lord and observe the commandments that He has given to us more strictly, greater prosperity would attend our efforts, and we would become free from the thraldom of debt with which we are at the present time oppressed.
I am satisfied that this work with which we have become identified, is “the power of God unto salvation” to all who will render obedience to its requirements, and that it is destined in the due time of the Lord to revolutionize the whole world and bring mankind generally into a condition when “every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is the Christ,” to the honor and glory of God our eternal Father.
At the time of the dedication of the Salt Lake Temple, I remember with a great deal of pleasure the promises that were made to the people by President Woodruff, that if we would go forth from that time and seek to keep the commandments of God, and conform our lives to the requirements of the Gospel, that our sins as a people though as scarlet should become as white as wool, and that we should be free to serve God, and have greater influence in the midst of the nations of the earth, and that the persecution that is being brought to bear upon the people would cease. I say I remember these predictions with a great deal of pleasure; and I have watched with equal satisfaction the fulfillment of every prediction that was ever made to the people. Wherever we have gone forth laboring to promote righteousness in the earth, God has blessed our labors, and His Spirit has attended His people in their undertakings. His servants have gone forth to the nations and have had influence and power wherever they have traveled, to an extent that was never before experienced since the organization of the Church upon the earth. And if the Saints continue to improve in their lives, as a people, this Spirit will continue to increase, and more success will attend the preaching of the Gospel.
I notice in traveling among the Saints and in our experience in the Temple, in the House of God, at St. George, where my labors are more particularly known, that there is a great improvement in the people with regard to the work that is necessary for the redemption of their kindred dead. Many more people are coming to the House of the Lord. Many there are that are desirous of obtaining their genealogical records, that they may be able to perform the work necessary for the redemption of their kindred dead. The spirit of this labor, I believe, is increasing throughout the Stakes of Zion, as also in the nations of the earth. And, while I do not believe that it is proper for us as a people to turn our attention exclusively to any one direction, to carry out one branch or one part of the Gospel, yet I believe that as a people we need to disturb ourselves a little in regard to this vicarious labor. I have said very many times, when addressing the people, that I do not know what the Saints would do if called from mortality and permitted to meet their kindred who have preceded them to the spirit world, I do not know what excuse they could offer for not having done more for the amelioration of their condition; because, in many instances, these people have lived within the shadow of the Temple, in close proximity with the House of God. The people have been reminded of their tithes and offerings wherein the Saints could place blessings and endowments in the Holy Priesthood in the hands of the kindred dead, and some have been perfectly indifferent in regard to this matter. In many instances men and women who have considerable of their genealogies have failed to go into the Temple to do the necessary work. There are other instances where they have done all that they could do. To these I have nothing to say, but to the ones that have failed, and who do not attend to anything in this line. I have been wondering what these would say if they should be summoned to the presence of their friends in the spirit world. We believe that we have identified ourselves with the Gospel of the Son of God. We believe that it is necessary for a man or woman, in order to be eternally saved in the presence of our God, to go down into the water and be baptized for the remission of their sins; then receive the imposition of the hands of the servants of the Lord, for the reception of the Holy Ghost; and all that is necessary to save a person in immortality in the Celestial Kingdom of our Father, is equally necessary for those who have died without a knowledge of the precious principles with which you and I have become so familiar. And if the Elder who goes forth to the nations of the earth experiences joy in meeting those that he has had the privilege of conducting into the waters of baptism, I say if he experiences joy at reaching them, how much more joy will he experience when he meets those individuals into whose hands he has placed keys of power and Priesthood that will enable them to pass from their present condition into the presence of the Father and partake of glory and immortality in His Celestial Kingdom; not only going down into the waters and being baptized for the individual who is unable to receive this ordinance for himself or herself, but coming up out of the water and receiving the laying on of hands for the reception of the Holy Ghost, and if it be a brother of sufficient age, receiving the Holy Priesthood for him, and then all the other blessings that are necessary for him to enjoy. I say that if an individual has joy in meeting them, what joy will they have when they meet the individual who performed all the ordinances that saved them, doing the work for them vicariously. I cannot think of anything that would be of greater joy to the person when he meets his friend than this labor would afford. Then we have the simpler ordinances, that we term simple because they are so easy of accomplishment, by which they can have sealed husband and wife for time and all eternity, and have conferred upon them the privilege of coming forth in the morning of the first resurrection, clothed with glory, immortality and eternal life and all the blessings of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and all the other blessings that pertain to the new and everlasting covenant. Then if they have had children and the children have passed away without a knowledge of the Gospel, they gather the names and do the work that is necessary for them, and seal the children to the parents. And this is the work that was spoken of and looked forth to, when the Prophet Elijah should come to turn the hearts of the children to the fathers, and the hearts of the fathers to the children. Now, this is why the Latter-day Saints build temples: They are calculated to exalt us in the Celestial Kingdom of our God. But there are labors for us to perform which should occupy every moment of time that we have to spare, going forth and laboring in whatever capacity we may be called upon to labor. And as the Lord blesses our labors, we should take a tenth of that which we receive and pay it to the storehouse of the Lord; then pay our fast offerings, that there may be plenty in the hands of the Bishop to provide for the wants of the poor in the ward where we reside; then going forth and performing every duty that is necessary for us to perform. If there is anything that has caused my heart to rejoice in my labors in connection with this people, my brethren and sisters, it is the provision that God our Father has made for the redemption of mankind, both living and dead, and the opportunities that are afforded the people, those who are so disposed, of laboring to bring about His purposes upon the earth, assisting in accomplishing that which is necessary to firmly establish this Gospel in the earth. And if we do, as a people, all that is necessary for us to do, that is in our power, the heavens will be opened and the blessing of the Almighty will descend upon us, prosperity will attend all our labors, and we will have that peace of mind and that contentment and joy in contemplating the great plan God has instituted for the redemption of the people. I say we will have such joy in contemplating these things that will make us so happy that we will never regret laboring for Him and for His purposes in the earth.
May God bless you, and may we as a people ever remember the importance of the age in which we live, and not lose sight of the signs of the times in which we live, and may we perform our duties to His acceptance, through Christ our Lord. Amen.
At the close of Elder Cannon’s remarks the general authorities of the Church were presented by Elder Seymour B. Young, and sustained by unanimous vote.
Elder Seymour B. Young
Elder Seymour B. Young
My brethren and sisters, I see in this assembly a large body of our Seventies, whom I am very glad to welcome to our General Conference.
Some four or five weeks ago and also a month previous to that date, we published an invitation for the Seventies to meet with us in this hall, on Sunday, the 10th inst., at 2 o’clock p.m. And I find that very many of the Seventies have come to accept of the invitation, and are here this afternoon.
Yesterday the First Presidency advised us not to make of it an exclusively Seventies’ meeting, but to have it an overflow meeting as usual, for the benefit of all the Saints that might wish to assemble. Consequently their suggestion was the keynote to us, and we cheerfully and gladly adopt the counsel they gave us on this matter. But I believe that there was nothing in their minds to prevent us from saying whatever we considered necessary to say to our brethren of the Seventies who should assemble here today.
Then, by way of conveying some of our wishes to the Seventies that are scattered through all the Stakes of Zion, we wish to remind you that we have 1,700 brethren, and nearly all of those are Seventies, laboring in the ministerial field today as missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ. They are laboring in all the states of the Union, they are also laboring in all the Scandinavian countries, that is, in Denmark, Sweden and Norway, also in Germany and in Holland, or the Netherlands; also a small corps of missionaries are now laboring in the Holy Land, under the direction of Apostle Anton H. Lund. We have a large corps of missionaries in the British mission, and upon the Sandwich Islands, upon the Society Islands, upon the Samoan Islands, in New Zealand, in Australia and pretty much in all the civilized world wherever Christian nations are known, and wherever Christianity is preached. We have missions in all those lands and islands of the seas representing the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We hope that our brethren of the Seventies have become impressed with the fact that they, to a large extent, are the missionary corps of the Church, and from these quorums of Seventies the brethren are chosen who go out on missions; or if they are chosen from the Elders’ quorums, when they are sent forth they are ordained Seventies, and sent with the Gospel message to the nations of the earth as minute men, calling upon the people of the world to repent of their sins. We have some very excellent missionaries in the field today. But we want to impress upon the minds of our brethren who preside over these quorums and those who are members of the same, and also upon the minds of the Elders the necessity of us all preparing ourselves to be better missionaries in the future than we have been able to send out in the past. We desire an improvement all the time. We desire that our brethren should be imbued with the spirit of improvement, and that in every Elder and Seventy that is called out, the Presidency of the Church and the Apostles shall find a fit representative of the Church of Christ, and a man that knows the hope that is within him and can give a reason for that hope in good, intelligent English language, or in whatever language he may be called upon to teach the Gospel, and that will depend upon the nation or people to whom he is sent. Now, in connection with this, I want to suggest to my Danish, Swedish, Norwegian and German brethren, and brethren from the islands of the sea, that you maintain the gift and power of speaking your own native tongue or language in your family circles. And those who can speak German, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian or French and who are natives of these countries, that every one will maintain their native tongue and dialect, speak it in the family circles and train their children to speak the same as well as the English, so that when they are called and sent out our young Elders may be prepared to preach and teach immediately, and thus gain an advantage in time, and time saved is expense saved. And those Elders who come from foreign missions and who have been in the habit of speaking foreign languages, by all means take every opportunity to speak in those languages that you may maintain the knowledge you have gained while you have been in a foreign nation, and continue to be able to speak fluently those different dialects and tongues, that when you are again called you will be prepared to go immediately into the field and labor as efficient Elders, having a thorough knowledge of the language in which you are called to teach. We also wish our Seventies and Elders to learn all they can, to make themselves proficient by attending to their Mutual Improvement Associations, and their Sunday schools, for in both of these institutions are to be found wonderful facilities for learning the principles of the Gospel, that they may be able to give a reason intelligently for the hopes that are within them. As I have said before, mutual improvement and individual improvement are the order of the day.
Now, in regard to dealing with members of quorums who are careless or delinquent: There was a brother came to me today and presented his recommendation from a quorum in the south, also his genealogy, which was taken from the quorum record, and he stated that he had been identified with no quorum since leaving the south, and that was as much as eight or ten years ago. He said, “I have been very careless, but I hope the brethren will not cast me off. I have been a wanderer, a trader, a stock man, and I have been wandering around all over creation and not attending to my duties as a Seventy during all that time; yet I would like very much to be received into a quorum, where I am going to locate, and I would not like to be cast out from the midst of my brethren.” I said, “Brother, there are no persons that I have ever met that were too old to repent of their sins, of their backslidings, careless ways and to turn over a new leaf, serve the Lord and keep His commandments. If you are one of those who desire to do this you can certainly receive the benefit of your good resolutions; and if you will prove to your brethren that you are indeed repentant and that you will do better, they will have no desire to cast you off.” The Gospel of life and salvation is a Gospel of repentance. Jesus truly said, when Peter asked Him how many times we should forgive our erring brother, and said as a suggestion, shall we forgive him seven times? Jesus said to him, not only shall you forgive him seven times, but you shall forgive him seventy times seven, if he repent. Now, this is a wide latitude, and I am not responsible for it; but I am satisfied in this matter that it is a very great and inestimable favor and blessing that the Lord has given unto His children, that as often as they will repent and forsake their sins, He will forgive them. We all need to repent every day of our lives, and we all need the spirit of repentance, and we all ought to cultivate this spirit of forgiveness one to another. For the Lord has said, “If you forgive not each other his trespasses, the Lord will not forgive you your trespasses.” Now, in dealing with scattered and careless members of Seventies, we desire, as we have instructed our brethren of the presidency of these quorums, that these brethren shall be labored with, that they shall be sought after, that they shall be earnestly taught with humility and kindness the way of life, that they shall be admonished from time to time in the quorum meetings. If you cannot get them to act with you, go to them and meet with them in their own houses and labor with them by their own firesides in the spirit of meekness and love unfeigned, seeking their welfare and salvation, and only desiring that through their repentance they may be forgiven, and learn to lay hold of the spirit of the Gospel.
There has been very much said during this Conference regarding the way that we show our determination to be in accord with our brethren, to be in unison with them, to be united with them in every good word and in every good work. And who has not felt his heart or her heart burn within his bosom during the services of this great Conference, in listening to the voice of our President, Wilford Woodruff, and hearing his admonitions? He stands a living monument of God’s mercy and pleasure in preserving his life and keeping a living witness within his breast of the truths of the Gospel that he embraced when in the days of his youth; always maintaining that same living witness that the same light burned brightly, for it has never gone out of his heart for one moment since he received it. See what a witness and testimony he has borne of these facts to the people during this Conference. I say never for one moment has the light gone out of his heart, and I do not think it has ever burned dimly; for the power of God has been manifest in him from that day and hour unto the present time. See the watch-care of the Spirit of the Lord and of the holy angels of God’s presence, how they have been over that man and guarded him and preserved him to do the work that he is called upon to do at this stage and in this age of the Church. And so I believe we might testify of those associated with him his Counselors and the Twelve Apostles, today. They have shown by their works, labors, teachings and constant endeavors among the people to lead, guide, counsel and admonish in all meekness and in all humility and by the power of God manifested to them, that their lamps have never grown dim, but that the Spirit of the Lord has burned within their hearts all the time; and there is burning within their hearts today a desire for the welfare of Israel, a desire for the gathering of Israel, a desire that the Gospel may be preached in every land and that the chosen seed of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob may be gathered from all the nations whither they have been scattered. Now, this is the course they are taking, and what ought we to do, my brethren and sisters, and especially my brethren of the Seventies and Elders, what ought to be our course in life? Should we not possess in our hearts the same light and the same love of truth that they have evidenced, and should we not stand shoulder to shoulder with them and be united in all things with our brethren who preside over us, seeking diligently to know the mind and will of the Lord, and be led by that Spirit which comes from Him all the time, into the way of life and truth, making our words and actions agree entirely? And when we testify that we have received the Gospel, that we have a living witness in our hearts, should we not keep that lamp constantly and brightly burning, that it may never grow dim through carelessness on our part?
I wish to remind you today, my brethren of the Seventies, that there is a very great necessity for every one, every president and member of these quorums to be united together and to be ready for the word of counsel from our fine leaders all the time, and to prepare ourselves for any field of action or labor, or any duty that we may be called upon to perform. Let us remember another thing, that though we may be called upon to perform some political duty or labors that are secular and not connected with our calling as Seventies, this should not take us outside of the influence of the Church nor of the brethren who preside over us. We should be subject to the laws of the Lord, to the law of the Gospel, which means a determination to carry out all the requirements made of us and to perform every duty as servants of the Lord. Let us feel that we are in duty bound to so conduct our lives that no reproach may come to us, and that we shall not bar ourselves from having the light, even the lamp of the Holy Spirit constantly burning within our hearts. I felt called to make these remarks, for I have seen with some sorrow, recently, that some of our brethren who are in political positions have turned a deaf ear to the admonitions of their brethren, and who have seemingly put at defiance every wish or suggestion that might be made to them. And I want to raise my voice in admonition to my brethren about the matter, and to call the attention of the Latter-day Saints, one and all, to the fact that we owe allegiance to our heavenly Father, and that between us and Him stand our brethren who preside over us, and that if we wish to maintain an influence with God and with the heavens, we must subject ourselves to the counsel of our leaders, and labor diligently and faithfully in the cause of Christ. May the Lord bless us and help us to do good, is my prayer in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Elder Jonathon Golden Kimball
Elder Jonathon Golden Kimball
I pray the Lord that I may be wise in what I shall say, and be under the influence of the Spirit of the Lord; for I have no desire to express my own feelings.
I frankly confess that I am disappointed; and when I am disappointed you find it out, for it shows upon the very lineaments of my face. I am not like a brother I once had and he was the only one I ever did have like that when he was disappointed and felt badly, he could whistle and sing. I cannot whistle or sing when I feel disappointed.
I have not learned the lesson of obedience yet, but I shall before I get through. It is our duty when we are confronted with anything that we do not understand, or go against any obstruction, to plow around it. I have always been accustomed to going over it. If I ran against a snag when plowing, it did me a whole lot of good to see my team pull, to test the plow and see how good it was. I have broken many a plow and done considerable damage by not plowing around the obstacle. There is an animal that when it reaches out with its feelers and runs against anything, it pulls its feelers back and crawls into its shell, and I suppose remains there and reflects until the scene changes.
Now, we were very desirous of meeting with the Seventies in a special conference meeting. We are not deprived of the privilege of talking to them as it is; for the brethren of the authorities have seemingly reconsidered the previous arrangements we made. It was with their consent, (I desire that fully understood by the Seventies), and their full approval that this notice was sent to you to be here, at 2 p.m. today. Out of it great good has come, because hundreds of Seventies would not have been here had it not been for the notice. Some have come long distances and they have been fully rewarded by what they have heard. If they will follow out the counsels that have been given to them by the Presidency of this Church, and by the Apostles, they need no further instructions from us, because when they return to their homes they will not neglect their duties as Latter-day Saints. You know, we should be like clay in the hands of the potter. We have got to be ground, moulded and fashioned into a vessel of honor. And a great many of us are lumpy, although some of these old Seventies have been ground for sixty years It has taken a long time to grind them, so that they will become tractable like little children. It will take just as long, perhaps, to grind all the lumps out of me, and other young men.
I have a testimony that the Gospel is true. I can preach it a great deal better than I can live it. Under the influence of the Spirit of God men often say things that are a marvel to them. “Sudden strokes of ideas” come to them when they stand upon their feet that they never thought of before. It may be very sudden and brief; but every man that has spoken under that Spirit knows there is such a thing as the Holy Ghost; that is, the Spirit of inspiration and revelation. That is the lesson that we have to learn. I often think of our Elders that you have sent out into the world. Many of them were wayward, careless, and indifferent; their parents were unable, to touch their hearts in some instances. They seemed determined to have their own way, even though it be a bad way. When a father or mother said anything to them about their bad associations, they would not believe it. I have done so myself when I was wayward, and when my mother counseled me that those young men were not proper associates for me, I could not believe it. I sympathize with a young man that has had bad companions and improper associates. Yet, when those young men repent of their sins, and get a glimmering of the spirit of the Gospel, they are just like clay in the hands of the potter. And, as one of the Apostles that has lately visited the Southern States stated to me, that when he compared what he saw in the South with what he had seen at home, the Southern mission grows bigger and larger every day. Yes, and it will keep growing larger, too. It is not the only mission on the earth either, for they are all growing larger.
Now about your boys. I have labored among the Elders who are working in the South and I have never seen the time in my five years’ experience there, that Elders have rebelled against the counsel that was given them. They sometimes put their own interpretation upon that counsel, but always acted to the best of their ability. When a man does that, he does pretty well; he is trying to do right and to carry out the instructions. I never had a difficulty in the South with an Elder, excepting one. He told the people things that never did transpire and never will. That was the only time I had occasion to say a harsh word and to correct an Elder. I have never felt the Spirit so manifest at home as I have when surrounded by our Elders in council meetings in the mission fields. It is often asked, What are they doing in the South? I speak of it because I am familiar with that mission. I am familiar with the workings of the South. There are few men as familiar with the Southern States mission as I am; because I have been in touch with it almost constantly for the last seven years. We find they are trying to educate your five hundred Elders to pay their tithing, and it is surprising how people criticise the President of that mission on that subject.
If some of the kind people are moved upon by the Spirit to give your sons money, they pay their tithing, and it is sent to Chattanooga. And you will find every one of these Elders’ names upon the tithing records. They paid a large tithing last year. The Lord will open the way before the Elders. They will not suffer in the South. They are treated like kings. What is the reason? They have struck the key note, and I hope they have struck it everywhere in the world, and that is, to pray, fast, travel without purse and scrip, pay their tithing, and climb out of old ruts. I heard that a missionary committee of brethren have been appointed to counsel with the brethren of the authorities, so that the European mission can be placed on a higher platform. It makes my heart rejoice. I wish they would take the headquarters in Liverpool and place it on a hill somewhere, that it may be seen. I pray the Lord to move upon His Elders that they may reach a higher standard of perfection. God intended His people to be progressive, and He never intended them to locate themselves in the slums of the world. And I told the Elders laboring in the South so. God does not ask you to go in the slums and remain over night, getting contagious skin diseases that are prevalent in such places. You can visit them, but I ask of you Elders, to go in respectable places when upon your missions, for you are servants of God. And if people do not keep themselves clean they are unworthy to have our Elders sleep in their beds. I would rather rest in the woods. Our Elders, through their great kindness, have brought upon themselves skin diseases that have afflicted them for years and years, and the Lord does not require it. The Holy Ghost will not dwell in unclean tabernacles, nor in unclean places.
I desire to tell you how the South got out of trouble. You know the difficulties that Elder John Morgan coped with. And let me say here, that man laid a broad foundation, and no man can take the honor from him, because it is his, through his faith, perseverance and the blessings of the Lord. He worked under great difficulties, that very few men in this Church have met with, except the early Apostles and the men who commenced this work. He went to the South in abject poverty, and he made railroad officials his friends, and he built up a reputation for honesty that can never be shaken. He made business men his friends, from which associations all his successors have received benefit. The Chattanooga Times, in 1884, when bitterness was at its highest ebb, said, to shake the hand of John Morgan was to be his friend. I was introduced to a passenger agent at Memphis, Tenn., by the general passenger agent of the East Tennessee railway, and he said. “I can give you no better recommend of Mr. Kimball than to say, if he applied to me for one thousand railroad tickets to Salt Lake City, and had no money with him to pay the same, I would feel perfectly secure in letting him have them.” This is the reputation John Morgan established in the South. His successors have followed in his wake.
The Latter-day Saints do not fully comprehend the persecution, hardships and difficulties Elders Morgan, Roberts and Spry had to meet. They and the Elders laboring under their direction were hounded, hunted, whipped, shot at, and some were killed. I stand before you as a living witness of these things.
I was in the South on my first mission in the year 1884, and it was the dark period in the life of the mission. Hardly a day passed, that letters were not received at the office at Chattanooga, stating that Elders had been threatened, whipped or surrounded by mobs, and Elders would ask if they should hold the fort. All that could be said was as Jesus had stated, “When they persecute you in one place, flee ye to another.”
The Lord, through His servant, the Prophet Wilford Woodruff, told you Latter-day Saints, at the time that great Temple [pointing to the Temple] was being dedicated, that the bitterness would be taken out of the hearts of our enemies, and their hearts would be softened towards us.
The Elders who were laboring in the South at the time of the dedication, and there were 160 of them, testify that a very marked and radical change has taken place in their experience, for the words of the Prophet are being fulfilled.
Some Elders now laboring in the South fancy they are the only ones who ever traveled without money. Elders were never more faithful, energetic and persevering than at present, yet thousands of Elders have been just as true and faithful.
I filled my first mission, and thought money was an essential, which to some Elders it is, yet the only time I laid out in the woods was with a $10 bill in my pocket and I thanked the Lord when the money was gone.
Brethren and sisters, cease your severe criticisms of the Presidents of missions. Stop finding fault, and refrain from troubling Elders about their returning home. They are being educated in the Gospel, and being taught to obey the laws of the Lord, that seemingly cannot reach their hearts at home. And this rewards them for all sacrifices. Our sons are there being taught to obey the law of tithing. Some of our good brethren’s names would not be found on the tithing records if their wives did not pay tithing on eggs and butter.
In conclusion, I desire to state that I feel well and honor and respect men who love God and keep His commandments; men who are truthful, honest and do not fear men. I love great generals and leaders like Moses, a man who loved God, and followed His counsel, yet was not afraid to express his views. The Lord loved him because of his manhood, and loyalty to His people.
I desire to say to you, Seventies, and the Latter-day Saints the closer I get to the Presidency of the Church and Twelve Apostles, the more I love them, because I know they are kind men, and they love God, and they love His work and His people. That is my testimony. If you have feelings against the brethren, go to them. If your brother offends you, go to him. Try to fix things up and do not let us have jarrings and bitterness, do not let us have apostasy in our hearts. God bless you. Amen.
Elder Marriner W. Merrill
Elder Marriner W. Merrill
I wish to say a few words in testimony, relative to what President Seymour B. Young referred to. To my mind what he referred to is quite an important matter: With regard to the foreign people, the Scandinavian, German, French and every people who speak foreign languages, teaching their children to speak the mother tongue, to speak the foreign language that the fathers and mothers are acquainted with. In some instances where the mother is acquainted with the foreign language and the father is not, or the father is acquainted and the mother is not, a great deal of pains should be exercised by the parents in teaching their children their language. We are sending Elders to different parts of the world; and a great majority of our Elders, I believe, have to learn a foreign language, if they are sent to a foreign country. This should be measurably avoided in the future, because our foreign population is scattered all over the country. We have a great many Scandinavian and German people in the country and I am sorry to say that a good many of those people who emigrated here a number of years ago have utterly failed to teach their children their own language. I had occasion a short time ago to look for some missionaries to go to Sweden, Norway and Denmark, and, of course, among that class of people I expected to find young people able to speak their mother tongue, but in this I was sadly disappointed. I only found a very few that could speak their mother tongue. In no case did I find any one that was reared up and born here and of foreign parentage, that could read the language. Now, I think this is a great mistake. The children may just as well learn two languages as to only learn one, and they can do it quite readily when they are young. I remember marrying a couple, I think it is about thirteen or fourteen years ago; the brother was an American and the sister a Swedish lady, and she could talk English very fluently, as also the Swedish language. When they came to get married, I asked them if they would promise me, should they be blessed with children, that they would teach those children the mother tongue, that is, teach them the Swedish language. Of course the brother could not speak that language. They promised me that they would.
And I took occasion to visit them about six weeks ago, and after hunting them up I went into the house to renew acquaintance. Of course they knew me, but I would not have known them. I asked them about it, and the mother said, “Yes, we have four children,” they had lost one or two, “and every one of these can now talk Swedish to you, if you can understand them.” They brought those children to talk and sing for me, and the little children were quite young, the oldest being about twelve years old, or nearly so. The mother said they talked very correctly. Of course I could not judge as to that, but suffice it to say they could talk their mother tongue; and that sister carried out and kept the promise they had made, to the very letter. The father comes in and takes the little girl on his knee, but he does not know a word she says. I was very much pleased in listening to these children talk their mother tongue. Now this will apply to all the foreign brothers and sisters. You brethren that have been to Germany, do not forget the German language, the language that you have so studiously acquired when you were preaching the Gospel. Now, the German people are quite numerous in this State, and every one of them ought to take greater pains in teaching their boys their own language. Now, Brother Young referred to this, and I thought you were not impressed with the idea so fully as you ought to be with regard to this important matter, for I tell you it is important. There was a young man raised by the side of me and his family lived by the side of me for forty years; they had a family of boys, and they were good boys too. Both father and mother were Norwegian. A little while ago one of the boys was sent to Norway on a mission, and it was with a great deal of difficulty that he learned the language. He had not learned it at home and did not make a success learning it on his mission, did not make a success learning his mother tongue. Now, if you take children in their infancy you can soon teach them a foreign language. Talk in that language to the baby and it will soon learn what you are talking about. Now, this thing ought to be observed throughout the whole Church. We are here to preach the Gospel to all people, nations, kindreds, tongues and tribes. If we can learn the language here at home, how much better it is than to spend months when you go abroad to learn the foreign language. You people that know the French language ought to cultivate it and not forget it, but practice, talk and read it. The Germans ought to read their language and have the children read it, and so with the Scandinavian people. They ought to have books and teach the children to read the language as well as to speak it. It is one thing to read it and another thing to speak it. It is not everybody that can speak it that can read it correctly. We ought to take these matters into consideration. I think we have time to devote to this important matter. Now I think that is enough.
I want to say something in relation to what Brother David H. Cannon, President of the St. George Temple, said.
Temple work has been my theme and labor for a great many years, and, of course, those subjects naturally impress themselves upon my mind. It is a very important matter, laboring in the interest of our kindred dead. We feel sometimes that we have done a great amount of labor in the Temple. We have four Temples now in operation, and they are open most of the year, and people are going there, but we are just commencing now; we will continue during our life time to work here, and the life time of our children, and the life time of our children’s children, and then through the Millennium, and how much longer I am not prepared to say, but suffice it to say the work will go on and continue to go on during these periods. Now, I suppose there are people here in this congregation that have almost lived under the shadow of some Temple, and have done nothing. You are liable, as well as myself, to be called to the other side to meet your children and relatives that have died without the Gospel, and who will, no doubt no question in my mind receive the Gospel if we will give them the opportunity.
Now I want to exhort you, my brethren and sisters, to consider these matters more seriously. Remember the obligations to your ancestors. If it had not been for them, you and I would not have an existence. Remember our kindred, and our fathers, and see to it that the hearts of the fathers are turned to the children and the hearts of the children are turned to the fathers. God bless you. Amen.
The choir sang the hymn:
Go, ye messengers of glory,
Run, ye legates of the skies.
Benediction by Elder M. W. Merrill.
Fourth Day-Afternoon Session (2)
Fourth Day-Afternoon Session (2)
Tabernacle, 2 p.m.
Singing by the choir:
Glorious things of thee are spoken,
Zion, city of our God:
He whose word can not be broken,
Chose thee for His own abode.
Prayer by Elder Abraham Hatch.
The choir sang the anthem,
The General Authorities were presented to the Conference by President George Q. Cannon, as follows:
Wilford Woodruff, as Prophet, Seer and Revelator, and President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in all the world.
George Q. Cannon as First Counselor in the First Presidency.
Joseph F. Smith as Second Counselor in the First Presidency.
Lorenzo Snow as President of the Twelve Apostles.
As members of the quorum of the Twelve Apostles Lorenzo Snow, Franklin D. Richards, Brigham Young, Francis M. Lyman, John Henry Smith. George Teasdale, Heber J. Grant, John W. Taylor, Marriner W. Merrill, Anthon H. Lund, Matthias F. Cowley and Abraham O. Woodruff.
The counselors in the First Presidency and the Twelve Apostles as Prophets, Seers and Revelators.
Patriarch to the Church John Smith.
First Seven Presidents of the Seventies Seymour B. Young, C. D. Fjeldsted, B. H. Roberts, George Reynolds, Jonathan G. Kimball, Rulon S. Wells and Joseph W. McMurrin.
William B. Preston as Presiding Bishop, with Robert T. Burton as his first and John R. Winder as his second counselor.
Franklin D. Richards as Church historian and general Church recorder, with John Jaques, Charles W. Penrose and Andrew Jenson as his assistants.
As the General Church Board of Education Wilford Woodruff, Lorenzo Snow, George Q. Cannon, Karl G. Maeser, Willard Young, Anthon H. Lund, James Sharp, Joseph F. Smith and John Nicholson.
As Trustee-in-Trust for the body of religious worshippers known as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Wilford Woodruff.
John Nicholson as clerk of the General Conference.
All of the voting to sustain the authorities was unanimous.
Elder Franklin D. Richards
Elder Franklin D. Richards
Signs of the times-Fulfillment of prophecy-Spirit of war-Work for the dead.
I have been requested to occupy a few moments of your precious time this afternoon. I greatly desire the sweet and enlightening influences of the Holy Spirit to direct what I shall say to you, that the time may be occupied acceptably and profitably. I have been greatly edified in the instructions that have been given from day to day during this protracted and exceedingly interesting Conference. A great deal has been brought forward for our consideration, deeply interesting, and should be exceedingly profitable unto us.
We are living in times of momentous importance, times which are marvelously significant from every point of view in which we may consider the conditions of the human family at the present time, whether religiously or politically, or whatever view we may take of it. Jesus, when on the earth, informed His associates that in the latter times there should come many false Christs, and there would be a great deal of wars and rumors of wars in the earth, etc. This same Jesus, risen from the dead, and again speaking to His Prophet in the last days, has spoken to us more definitely and significantly upon this point than He did at that time to the brethren with Him. He was pleased to say to His Prophet, Joseph Smith, on the 25th day of December, 1832, the day celebrated as the anniversary of the birth of Christ, that there should come wars in this land, and specifically stated that they should commence in the state of South Carolina. This revelation was preserved in the archives of the Church until July, 1851. Some nineteen years after this revelation was given to the Prophet Joseph it was brought out and published to the nations of the earth. Since then it has become common property to all the inhabitants of the earth who have been pleased to examine the revelations of God to the Latter-day Saints. It was stated that this was to be the commencement of wars that should cause the death and misery of many souls. It was not until 1861 about ten years after this revelation was published that this was fulfilled. And it was not done in a corner, nor in any obscure part of the earth, but it was fulfilled just as the Prophet said it should be. The first guns of that war were discharged at Fort Sumter, in Charleston harbor, South Carolina. It is now a matter of national history, and all the human family should know that it was given to Joseph Smith in 1832, some twenty-nine years before it occurred, and which cost this nation so much anguish and the lives of nearly a million of precious souls.
This has come to pass, and the same Lord Jesus Christ has given us through the same Prophet Joseph Smith to understand that the day is near at hand when peace shall be taken from the earth, and that it has begun to be taken from the earth. These things have been read in our hearing during this Conference. Now, we may as well understand that as the other great revelation of 1832 was fulfilled, which the whole human family know who are of civilized or semi-civilized condition, just so certain is this also likely to be fulfilled. It furthermore states in the revelation that has been read to us, that the time will come when all nations shall be at war; when every man that will not take up his sword to defend himself against his neighbor will have to flee to Zion. These prophecies indicate a growing tendency in that direction. And I wonder if the latter part that I have just quoted is not already tasted in its bitterness in the island of Cuba near to our coast though they have not the chance to flee to Zion, but have to take up their sword against their neighbors and have to contend for their liberties, and are at the present time in a horribly distressed condition, objects of the charity of the whole nation and of the other nations of the earth.
Living then in times when these tremendous prophecies are hanging over the heads of the human family, partly fulfilled, partly unfulfilled, and when the angel of the Lord came with his message in these last days declaring the Gospel revealed again and bringing especially the word, “the hour of his judgment is come,” shall we take no notice of these great and wonderfully significant sayings? The brethren who have ears to hear and hearts to understand, will feel the necessity of maintaining closer business relations than we have been in the habit of doing for the last decade to two. If we had hearkened to the good counsels that were given to us by our President, and made it a point, as they and the officers of our cities and counties did, to make once a year a clean sheet, and get no further into debt, we would have been in a much stronger business condition today than we now are, and many men would have saved themselves sleepless hours who now have to lie awake to study how they are going to raise the money to meet their obligations and to save their homes from being taken away from them.
We live in a time when the nations of all the earth are so disunitedly united that the tension of their connection is drawn to its utmost limit in many places. We need not only to notice the case here on our coast, but it is so on the other side of the globe. Nations are ready to go to war, and anxious for the opportunity. It seems as if the spirit of war had gone forth until great men who pose as patriots, and would like to be considered statesmen, are ready and clamoring for war. Latter-day Saints have always taught the principles of peace and good will. This came to us through our Savior. But He told us that we were going to come to a time when we would have contention and strife even in our families; when a man’s enemies should be they of his own household another affirmative statement of that terrible consummation that was before referred to. The world are tending to that. But the Latter-day Saints are tending to peace, to union, to fellowship, and love. While in the midst of our deepest affliction, harassed, tormented, scattered and peeled, and coming here as far as we could get away from civilization to make a home, I say while we have been passing through these things we have had a peace within us; we have a settled conviction of the knowledge of God; we know that He has accepted us as His children; we know that He has manifested himself to us frequently by gifts and blessings and manifestations not a few. Thus have we been right along. And while we do not nor are we under any necessity to, make any great demonstration or indulge in any spread-eagle discourses to convince the people that we are at peace, and that we wish they would keep the peace, that has been the way we have felt. But the Lord has told us that Zion would be the only people on the earth that would be at peace in the earth. Therefore, we want to overcome evil with good, cultivate this spirit and the keeping of the commandments of God, and get that spirit that Brother Joseph was talking to us of this morning, to know that we are born again, that His Spirit is in us, that we live by it and are guided by those principles; that it is the light that leadeth our feet, and we want to live so as to keep it growing brighter and brighter till the perfect day.
Considering these are the times and conditions in which we live, it seems to me that the teachings we have had during this Conference have been wonderfully adapted to our condition, not only the spiritual portion, but the exhortation to the wise management of our temporal concerns. I would urge the brethren to make all reasonable effort to get out of debt, and live honest and honorable before all men. If you have but little, realize that that much comes as near being yours as anybody’s, except the Lord’s, who has made you the steward over it.
We see then that the growth and tendency of all influences existing among the human family are towards discord, violence, warfare, contention and strife. The union that used to be felt among people in neighborhoods is being lost. The confidence of men with men is being lost. We hear it common among the people that we must treat every man in that way that we do not know but he may turn to be dishonest.
Now, in the light of the great work that is going on, we want to cultivate every grace and virtue, and keep the commandments of God and the covenants we have made with each other. It is our integrity, our faithfulness, and our devotion to do these things and to walk in the law of the Lord, that we may have the light of His Spirit to increase with us constantly it is this that is going to enable us to get through and accomplish the work that is laid upon us for ourselves and for our dead. I want to say that in our appointing the Elders to the nations we have an eye continually to their efforts among their kindred in distant lands, and the obtaining of the genealogy of their ancestry, that they may labor for their dead.
I know this is the work of the Lord. I sense it continually. The only thing that I have to concern myself about is to be able to live it, to be counted worthy of the multiplied blessings which He has bestowed upon us. In other lands people are dying by the hundreds and thousands, through famine and terrible diseases and pestilences, which are God’s messengers sent forth to convince the people. As it was said to an ancient Prophet, when the judgments of the Lord were in the earth people would learn righteousness. Perhaps they will; but I am afraid it is going to be too late for the great mass of them, the way they act. It seems as if the human family were anxious to become drunk with blood and imbrue their hands in each other’s blood. And what a work will it be when peace is taken from the earth! Let us cultivate peace. Let us walk in all the ways of the Lord and serve Him continually.
I pray that the blessings of God may be upon all the interests of Zion; that the spirit of this Conference may go to the ends of the earth as far as there are Saints or honest in heart that want to hear and to learn of it, that it may be a blessing and a benefit to us and to the human family; that the work of the Lord may go on and prosper, increase and spread abroad until the Gospel has gone to all nations, and until all the ends of the earth shall be made to know that He is God, and that there is none else in the earth like unto Him. And may His blessings be upon us, and upon all we have to do with our persons, our families, our flocks, our herds, our gardens and our orchards, and all that the Lord hath made us the stewards over, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
President George Q. Cannon
President George Q. Cannon
Prophetic promises concerning the land of America and its people-It is choice above all other lands-Designs of God in regard to it-Law in relation to war-Course of the government of our nation commended-Our duty to our country,
The remarks which have been made by Brother Franklin D. Richards concerning the position the inhabitants of the earth are in, and particularly our position, and his reference to the revelation that was read the other day concerning the necessity there would be for those who desired peace to flee to Zion, suggests the reading of some promises and predictions that the Lord has made concerning this land. Lehi, before his death, in speaking about this land to which he and his family had been led, made the following remarks:
“Wherefore, this land is consecrated unto him whom he shall bring. And if it so be that they shall serve Him according to the commandment which he hath given, it shall be a land of liberty unto them; wherefore, they shall never be brought down into captivity; if so, it shall be because of iniquity; for if iniquity shall abound, cursed shall be the land for their sakes; but unto the righteous it shall be blessed for ever.”
His son Jacob also spoke concerning this land, and those who had charge of the records have left on record something that He has said respecting it:
“But behold, this land, saith God, shall be a land of thine inheritance, and the Gentiles shall be blessed upon the land.
“And this land shall be a land of liberty unto the Gentiles, and there shall be no kings upon the land, who shall rise up unto the Gentiles;
“And I will fortify this land against all other nations.”
Here is a promise given to the people of this land, that if we will serve the God of this land no nation shall prevail against us; for the Lord says he will fortify this land against all other nations. Of course, it is understood that to have this we must be a righteous nation.
Other prophets have spoken in similar language. It is recorded by Moroni, in the book of Ether, as follows:
“And now we can behold the decrees of God concerning this land, that it is a land of promise, and whatsoever nation shall possess it, shall serve God, or they shall be swept off when the fulness of his wrath shall come upon them. And the fulness of his wrath cometh upon them when they are ripened in iniquity;
For behold, this is a land which is choice above all other lands; wherefore he that doth possess it shall serve God, or shall be swept off; for it is the everlasting decree of God. And it is not until the fulness of iniquity among the children of this land, that they are swept off.
“And this cometh unto you, O ye Gentiles, that ye may know the decrees of God, that ye may repent, and not continue in your iniquities until the fulness come, that ye may not bring down the fulness of the wrath of God upon you, as the inhabitants of the land hath hitherto done.
“Behold, this is a choice land, and whatsoever nation shall possess it, shall be free from bondage, and from captivity, and from all other nations under heaven, if they will but serve the God of the land, who is Jesus Christ, who hath been manifested by the things which we have written.”
These are great promises which the Lord has given unto the inhabitants of this land; not to the Latter-day Saints alone, but to all the people of the land. You remember, no doubt, the effort that was made to establish a king on this land of North America, and the destruction which resulted to many of those who attempted it. The Word of God as recorded in this Book of Mormon, which was revealed through the Prophet Joseph Smith, concerning the results of any attempt to set up a king on this land, was literally fulfilled in that instance. Maximillian was destroyed, and the attempt to establish an empire was brought to naught. The Mexican people, inspired with a grand patriotism and an intense love for country, rose up, led by a pure descendant of Lehi a pure Lamanite and overthrew the armies of Europe that were brought here to conquer the land and to establish upon this sacred soil this soil dedicated by the Almighty to liberty and freedom an empire. The flower of the French army, and most distinguished of her generals, with the Emperor Napoleon himself as the designer of the enterprise, backed and sustained by Austria, were ignominiously overthrown and brought to shame and confusion. The Lord fulfilled His word exactly as it had been predicted long before. Upwards of six hundred years before the birth of the Savior Ether, a Prophet of God, had made predictions concerning this land. Not long after that Lehi made similar predictions, Shortly after that Jacob, a Prophet of God, made predictions concerning the fate of those who should attempt to bring the inhabitants of this land into bondage, and he said that no king should be established upon the land. So that we have on record great predictions by these three men of God concerning the future of America. This is a sacred land. It is a land choice above all other lands upon the face of the earth. It was kept hidden from the nations for long centuries, and the reason for this has been given to us; it was that the land might not be overrun by the nations of the earth, and that it might be reserved for the great drama of the last days.
It is a remarkable thing, and we would be incapable of understanding the reason why this land had been hidden for so many centuries from the knowledge of the nations of the earth, if the Lord had not revealed it. There is said to be a record among the Scandinavians that some of that race penetrated the western sea and landed on the coast of North America. This may or may not be so. The Welsh also claim that a prince of their blood also reached this land. The Irish also have a tradition that some of their race penetrated the western ocean and reached the land. But whoever did this, if any, left nothing on record to incite the nations of the earth to the belief that there lay hidden, enveloped in the mists of the western sea, a large hemisphere such as the continent of North and South America. The knowledge of it was completely hidden, as completely as if it did not belong to our globe. Navigators sailed to and fro; but through the long centuries that elapsed from the confusion of tongues at the Tower of Babel, when the inhabitants of the earth were scattered, until the time that Columbus, inspired of God, went from court to court, pleading with the governments of nations to give him the means to penetrate the ocean and find what he supposed was the Indies during all that time the knowledge of this land was kept from all the nations of the earth. Is not this wonderful? How can we account for it? There is only one way, and that is the way the Lord accounts for it; He tells us through His servant that the knowledge of this land should be kept from all the nations of the earth, because if it were not they would overrun the land. It was a land too choice to be left unoccupied, possessed of too many of those elements that enrich individuals and peoples. The nations of the earth would have swarmed here by the hundreds of thousands, and there would have been no place found upon the land for the great events that are taking place now and for the people who now possess the land. There would have been no room for the Church of Christ, no room for the kingdom of God, no room for the gathering of the millions that will yet come to Zion, to build up the kingdom of God on this land and to prepare the way for the establishment of the New Jerusalem; for this is the favored land upon which the New Jerusalem will be established. We, therefore, can see today how the Lord has prepared the way for the gathering of the people from all the nations of the earth, and how His providence has been over this choice land above all other lands. There is plenty of room here; not crowding upon anybody; not compelled to come as conquerors have in other ages who have overrun other lands and driven out or destroyed the people who occupied the land, in order that they might possess it. No necessity for this; for God has made abundant provisions. He has kept in reserve this glorious land, in order that in the last days His kingdom could be established, and that under the inspiration which He should give, a government might be founded a government of liberty, a government of freedom, giving to all the utmost liberty they could desire, and promising to those who should possess the land many precious things; for He has told us that none should be brought here except they should come by His permission. Therefore, the emigration that has come from the beginning, and that is still coming, comes by the permission of the Almighty. He is watching over it, and He will control it and bring to pass His purposes in connection with it. He has told us that if we will only worship the God of this land, Jesus Christ, we cannot be brought into bondage or into captivity by any other nation. The powers of Europe may band together and indulge in hopes of conquering this nation; but the Lord has said and it will be fulfilled if we do right that they will be defeated in all their schemes, and this shall be a land of liberty unto the righteous. This nation of ours, so glorious in its past, so glorious in its prospects of the future, will stand and never be overthrown, unless the inhabitants of the land reject Jesus Christ, the King and the God of the land. Now we know the conditions upon which victory will be assured to us as a nation. If this nation had listened to Joseph Smith, the Prophet of God; if they had been counseled by him, God would have adopted this nation and its government, and made it His; for the promises are to that effect. Now, what the future will be depends upon the conduct of those who possess the land and upon the administration of affairs in the land.
There is one thing that has gladdened me very much during this recent agitation concerning war; I have been pleased exceedingly at the course that has been taken by the administration in this threatened difficulty.
There has been so manifest a desire and determination on the part of President McKinley and those immediately connected with him, to keep down excitement, to prevent the circulation of falsehood and everything that would disturb the public mind and inflame it against Spain, that I have been very much pleased.
In connection with this I would like to read a revelation which the Lord has given to us as a people, because I see in the conduct of the administration some features that agree with the instructions of the Lord. The Lord, in speaking about the plan that He recommended to His ancients, says:
“Behold, this is the law I gave unto my servant Nephi, and thy fathers Joseph, and Jacob, and Isaac, and Abraham, and all mine ancient Prophets and Apostles.
“And again, this is the law that I gave unto mine ancients, that they should not go out unto battle against any nation, kindred, tongue, or people, save I, the Lord, commanded them.
Here is a law given that is of the utmost importance to the inhabitants of the earth, as well as to us as a people. It is the law by which the inhabitants of the earth should be governed, and we, as Latter-day Saints especially, should understand this law and be governed by it; and not, as we have been told at this Conference, indulge in warlike demonstrations or manifest a bloodthirsty disposition. We should be a peaceful people, seeking peace, and endeavoring to escape all the horrors of war, and to avert them from the nations of the earth, particularly our own nation. The Lord says:
“And if any nation, tongue, or people, should proclaim war against them, they should first lift a standard of peace unto that people, nation, or tongue.”
I have been impressed (and I say this aside from any political bias, not wishing political feeling to enter into a question of this kind) with the conduct of the administration in relation to this. There has seemed to me to be a determination on the part of President McKinley and those immediately associated with him to push off war and to do all in their power to avert it. Because of their apparent hesitation some have become inflamed against them, and have felt that the dignity of the nation was not being maintained, and that we were not doing as we should do to punish Spain for her supposed action in relation to the destruction of the battleship Maine, and because of her treatment of the Cubans. The feelings of our nation have been stirred up by reports in the newspapers, many of which have been incorrect and without foundation. While the examination concerning the destruction of the Maine was going on, the administration has been under the continued necessity of publicly denying the false stories that had obtained circulation; and they did this in the interests of peace, to keep the people of our nation from being misled and stirred up to such a degree of indignation that they could not be controlled. I have admired this, and I have thanked God that this spirit has been given unto the men that have our nation and its affairs in charge, because I have recognized how much it agreed with what the Lord has said. Spain has not yet proclaimed war against this nation; but if she has countenanced (which I do not believe she did) the destruction of the battleship Maine, or even if the ruling powers in Spain have done it, and were determined to have war with us, the Lord says we should lift up a standard of peace unto that nation. That is the duty of this nation. That is the duty of the Latter-day Saints, when their enemies come against them to make war upon them. We must proclaim peace; do all in our power to appease the wrath of our enemies; make any sacrifice that honorable people can to avert war, with all its horrors, entailing as it does dreadful consequences so numerous that they cannot be mentioned. It is our duty, I say, as a nation. The influence of the Latter-day Saints should be used in this direction. We should seek to quell these feelings of anxiety to fight and to shed blood. Our influence should go forth like oil poured upon the troubled waters, quieting the waves of discontent and wrath that are aroused by this fearful spirit. The Lord then tells us what should be done:
“And if that people did not accept the offering of peace neither the second nor the third time,”
Not only ought we to extend the offering of peace the first time to a nation that proclaims war against us, but again the second time; and if that should be rejected, again the third time; and if it be rejected the third time, then
“They should bring these testimonies before the Lord.”
Go to the Lord, and say, “Here are our testimonies. We have offered peace the first time; we have offered it twice; we have offered it three times; but our offerings are rejected, and this nation is determined to have war with us. Now we bring these testimonies before thee, Lord.”
“Then I, the Lord, would give unto them a commandment, and justify them in going out to battle against that nation, tongue, or people,
“And I, the Lord, would fight their battles, and their children’s battles, and their children’s children’s, until they had avenged themselves on all their enemies, to the third and fourth generation.
“Behold, this is an ensample unto all people, saith the Lord your God, for justification before me.
I do not look for our nation to do this. It is scarcely to be expected, in the nature of things, that they would do it. But it is the true principle, and we as a people should use our influence for this purpose. Our prayers should ascend to God; our petitions should ascend to the government of our nation to do everything that honorable people can to avert war. We have no fear of the effect of the combinations against us. Spain might inflict great damage upon our coasts. Her naval strength is equal if not superior to ours. We have a very extended line of seacoast, and a difficult line to defend against a strong naval power. And we might suffer in the beginning. But the promise of God is that if we will do right as a nation, if we will serve Him, they shall not have power over us, or be able to bring us into bondage; and in the end we shall prevail. This is a glorious promise which is made to the inhabitants of this land. I would to God that the whole nation would believe it. I would to God that they would accept the testimonies of the past, the prophecies that have been referred to this afternoon; for I say to you, as I would like to say to this entire nation, there are prophets of God in the land. The word of God is in the midst of the people. The Lord reveals His mind and will unto His servants the Prophets. The proofs of it are before all the nations of the earth. There is abundant evidence to substantiate the statements which have been made that the Lord has revealed His will, and that there are Prophets in the land. And if the nation would believe, the Lord would make them the great and mighty power that we are told by the ancient Prophets this nation might become.
To us as Latter-day Saints these principles are of the utmost importance. I do not want to see our young men get filled with the spirit of war and be eager for the conflict God forbid that such a spirit should prevail in our land, or that we should contribute in any manner to the propagation of a spirit of that kind! But one may say, “Is it not our duty to defend our country and our flag? Is it not our duty to maintain the institutions which the Lord has given to us?” Certainly it is. And it is no part of cowardice to take the plan that the Lord has pointed out. No man need be afraid that the Lord or any just man will look upon him as a coward.
There was a time when men who became angry at each other fought duels. A man of honor considered it his duty, if he received an insult, to challenge the insulter, and the man that was challenged had the choice of weapons, and they fought in single combat to avenge their honor. And such a feeling prevailed on this question that brave men were liable to be charged with cowardice if they did not fight. It took the bravest kind of men to refuse to fight. But it is not an evidence of true courage to be willing to rush into a fight. Sometimes the bravest of people shrink from any such action as this; when the time comes to fight, however, they are the bravest, and the slowest to yield.
The Lord has given us a command in connection with this subject that is worth while for us to bear in mind:
“For he will give unto the faithful line upon line, precept upon precept; and I will try you and prove you herewith;
“And whoso layeth down his life in my cause, for my name’s sake, shall find it again, even life eternal:
“Therefore be not afraid of your enemies, for I have decreed in my heart, saith the Lord, that I will prove you in all things, whether you will abide in my covenant, even unto death, that you may be found worthy.”
In this revelation the Lord requires us to be a brave people, a true and faithful people. As one of our hymns says:
“We want no cowards in our band, Who will our colors fly; We call for valiant-hearted men, Who’re not afraid to die.”
This is the kind of people that are wanted in the Church of Christ; not cowards, or men who will shirk and fly in the hour of danger. Such people are not wanted. At the same time the Lord expects us to be a peace-loving people, willing to do everything in our power for peace, to preserve the lives of the human family, to deliver every person, to the extent of our ability, from all the evils that Satan would bring upon them. Therefore, I hope if there is a disposition not to clamor for war that it will not be attributed to cowardice or to the fear of losing life. God has commanded us to be ready to lay down our lives whenever it shall be necessary. If it should be to defend our religion, we have in days past shown our fearlessness in that direction. Speaking generally, our people have not been afraid to lay down their lives for their religion. We should be equally willing, if it should be necessary, to lay down our lives for our country, for its institutions, for the preservation of its liberty, that these glorious blessings and privileges shall be preserved to all mankind, and especially to those with whom we are immediately connected. A man is of very little value that would not be willing to take the chances in a contest where these important interests were at stake; for these interests are of far more value than life itself. I believe that the day will come, or is here now, that if this people called Latter-day Saints should be required to go to defend their country and its institutions, their homes and their religion, and the rights of their fellowmen, there would be an almost universal response in favor of that. Therefore, that which I say upon these points is not in favor of shrinking from the defense of everything that is right, or of doing anything that would be craven and unworthy of honorable people. I would not like to see our government put itself in a position that it would not stand fair before all the nations of the earth; and every effort that we make for peace will make us stand fair, because there is a feeling throughout the world that the American people are strong enough to be magnanimous, and that when they are magnanimous, it is not prompted by any craven or unworthy feeling.
Brethren and sisters, I have endeavored to lay before you some of the promises that God has made to us. I say “us,” because we are inhabitants of this land and possessors in common with our fellow citizens. I have read this to you so that if you need comfort it may be imparted unto you. There need be no trepidation in our hearts concerning the threatening aspect of affairs. If war should come, it will no doubt come because of the determination of Spain to force it upon us. I feel confident that there is no disposition on the part of our own government, whatever may be the feeling of the masses of the people, to create war. The freedom of Cuba has nothing particularly to do with us, only this far: They are on our borders, and the atrocities which have been committed have been of so awful a character that we would be less than human if we did not sympathize with them. Our government is amply justified in demanding that these atrocities shall cease. We would be less than human if we could sit quietly by and see people massacred and starved to death as they have been and are being on the island of Cuba. It is not the newspaper correspondents alone who have brought these tidings to us; but men of the highest repute have told of the conditions there. I have myself had communications upon the subject from one of the leading men in this nation, who visited Cuba personally. Of course, we all have seen what the newspapers have said. Under these circumstances, men and women who have the least feeling for their fellow creatures must cry out against the continued perpetration of such horrors, and the word should go forth that they must cease. We cannot allow a continuation of these scenes while we have the power as a nation to put an end to them. Then if Spain is determined, because of this position that we have assumed, to make war upon us, let us do the best we can under the circumstances. But I hope that Spain will see the folly of continuing this, and will give those poor, wretched people the liberty they are contending for.
I pray God the Eternal Father to be with us as a people, to fill us with sentiments of justice and mercy, with comprehensive views concerning our relationship to mankind in general, and the duties that devolve upon us because of our position. For I say to you this day that the Latter-day Saints, in some respects, occupy the most influential position of any people upon the face of the earth, according to our numbers. And our influence will be felt more and more, especially if we will only be united. It is our union that gives us power. Take that away from us and we are weak as water. But united, bound together in holiness, in purity, and in the love of liberty and of truth, we are the strongest people upon the face of the earth. God grant that this may continue, and increase, until all shall be fulfilled that has been spoken concerning Zion and this glorious land of ours. I ask it in the name of Jesus. Amen.
President Wilford Woodruff
President Wilford Woodruff
Historical incidents-Keys of power from Joseph to the Twelve-Founders of our nation inspired-Afflictions awaiting the world-Importance of redeeming the dead.
At the close of this Conference I have a desire to bear my testimony before you upon a few principles. I have rejoiced very much during this Conference in listening to the testimony of the Apostles and Elders who have spoken. It has brought to my remembrance a little of my history.
In April, 1838, while in the town of Kirtland, in walking across the street I met two men who held the Apostleship. They said to me, “Brother Woodruff, we have something that we want you to join us in.” Said I, “What is it? “We want another Prophet to lead us.” “Whom do you want?” “We want Oliver Cowdery. Joseph Smith has apostatized.” After listening to them, I said to them: “Unless you repent of your sins you will be damned and go to hell, and you will go through the fulness of eternal damnation, and all your hopes in this life will pass before you like the frost before the rising sun. You are false. Joseph Smith has not apostatized. He holds the keys of the kingdom of God on earth, and will hold them until the coming of the Son of Man, whether in this world or in the world to come.” I am happy to say that those men did repent pretty soon, turned to the Church, and died in it.
I feel thankful today that Joseph F. Smith is with us as a son of Hyrum Smith. He bears a true and faithful testimony of his father. I would to God that Joseph Smith had a son in the flesh who would do as Joseph F. Smith does here bear testimony to the truth of his father. The Prophet Joseph Smith has no son that stands in the midst of the Church of God and bears record of his father. He never has had; possibly never will have.
I will give you a testimony here that will show you where I stand with regard to this matter. Joseph Smith never ordained his son Joseph, never blessed him, never set him apart, to lead this Church and kingdom on the face of the earth. When he or any other man says he did, they state that which is false before high heaven.
The last speech that Joseph Smith ever made to the quorum of the Apostles was in a building in Nauvoo, and it was such a speech as I never heard from mortal man before or since. He was clothed upon with the Spirit and power of God. His face was clear as amber. The room was filled as with consuming fire. He stood three hours upon his feet. Said he: “You Apostles of the Lamb of God have been chosen to carry out the purposes of the Lord on the earth. Now, I have received, as the Prophet, seer and revelator, standing at the head of this dispensation, every key, every ordinance, every principle and every Priesthood that belongs to the last dispensation and fulness of times. And I have sealed all these things upon your heads. Now, you Apostles, if you do not rise up and bear off this kingdom, as I have given it to you, you will be damned.”
I am the only witness left on earth that can bear record of this, and I am thankful that I have lived to see the day in which I stand. I am thankful to see the sons of these Prophets and Apostles holding the Holy Priesthood in our day and generation. I do not believe the day will ever come it is too late in the day, in my opinion when any Elder in this Church will be called to stand before any two of the Apostles with us today and give unto them the declaration that I gave unto the two Apostles I have referred to. I do not think any of the Apostles will occupy that position. I have faith to believe that these men who bear the Apostleship will hold it and live their religion. They have been called and ordained of God for this purpose. I do not think that one of them will apostatize. I believe they will be with you and with this Church while they stand in the flesh, true and faithful to God.
Brother Cannon has been laying before you something with regard to the nation in which we live and what has been said concerning it. I am going to bear my testimony to this assembly, if I never do it again in my life, that those men who laid the foundation of this American government and signed the Declaration of Independence were the best spirits the God of heaven could find on the face of the earth. They were choice spirits, not wicked men. General Washington and all the men that labored for the purpose were inspired of the Lord.
Another thing I am going to say here, because I have a right to say it. Every one of those men that signed the Declaration of Independence, with General Washington, called upon me, as an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, in the Temple at St. George, two consecutive nights, and demanded at my hands that I should go forth and attend to the ordinances of the House of God for them. Men are here, I believe, that know of this, Brothers J. D. T. McAllister, David H. Cannon and James G. Bleak. Brother McAllister baptized me for all those men, and then I told these brethren that it was their duty to go into the Temple and labor until they had got endowments for all of them. They did it. Would those spirits have called upon me, as an Elder in Israel, to perform that work if they had not been noble spirits before God? They would not.
I bear this testimony, because it is true. The Spirit of God bore record to myself and the brethren while we were laboring in that way.
What has been said with regard to this nation and to our position is coming to pass. All the powers of earth and hell will not stay the hand of Almighty God in the fulfillment of those great prophecies that have to come to pass to prepare the way for the coming of the Son of Man. You who have gathered here are my witnesses of this. I feel as though the day has come when every Elder and every Latter-day Saint ought to stop and consider the position he is in and the covenants he has entered into. Is there anything on the face of the earth that will pay you to depart from the oracles of God and from the Gospel of Christ? Is there anything that will pay you to lose the principles of salvation, to lose a part in the first resurrection with the privilege of standing in the morning of the resurrection clothed with glory, immortality and eternal life at the head of your father’s house? No, there is nothing. I feel sorry many times when I see men who have the Priesthood forget almost that they have any interest in the work of God.
I feel to thank God that I have lived as long as I have, and to see as much as I have in fulfillment of the words of the Prophet of God. His days were few. The lives of great men have been strange. The idea of Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God, only laboring three years and a half in the ministry and then He was put to death! His Apostles, too, were put to death, excepting John the Revelator, and they would have killed him if they could have done so. He lived because God wanted him to live. We live in the last dispensation and in the midst of the great work that all the Patriarchs and Prophets since God made the world have spoken of. Afflictions and tribulations await the world. The destroying angels have got their sharp sickles in their hands, and they are going to reap the earth. Everything that has been spoken by the prophets under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost will come to pass in the generation in which we live. Do not forget it. I thank God we are as well as we are; that we have as many as we have who are united together in the Priesthood. Let us try to live our religion, do our duty, and magnify our calling while we are here. The eyes of all heaven are over us. The eyes of the world are over us. The eyes of the angels are over us. The Lord has looked upon us and upon the house of Israel to be saviors of the nations. We are here to fulfill these principles.
I pray God my Heavenly Father that as Elders of Israel and as Latter-day Saints we may prize these principles, and that we may do our duty what time we spend here in the flesh. These Apostles and all the quorums of the Priesthood have a great work upon them. Every father and mother has a great responsibility resting upon them, to redeem their dead. Do not neglect it. You will have sorrow if you do. Any man will who neglects the redemption of his dead that he has power to officiate for here. When you get to the other side of the veil, if you have entered into these Temples and redeemed your progenitors by the ordinances of the House of God, you will hold the keys of their redemption from eternity to eternity. Do not neglect this! God bless you. Amen.
God of Israel, hear our prayer,
was sung by the choir.
Benediction by Elder C. W. Penrose. Conference adjourned for six months.
The stenographic work in taking the account of the proceedings was done by Arthur Winter.
Clerk of Conference.
Deseret Sunday School Union
Deseret Sunday School Union
Its Annual General Conference.
Minutes of Annual Sunday School Conference held in the Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, Sunday evening, April 10, 1898, at 7 p.m.
The General Superintendency, Members and Aids of the Union Board, President Joseph F. Smith, several Apostles, a large number of Stake and Ward Officers and Sunday School workers were present.
The choir, under the direction of Prof. Evan Stephens, sang:
Great God attend while Zion sings.
Prayer was offered by Elder Andrew Kimball.
The choir sang: Lord, Thou wilt hear me when I pray.
Elder Seymour B. Young called the roll, which was responded to by twenty-nine out of the thirty-seven Stakes. He also presented the General Sunday School Authorities, who were unanimously sustained as follows:
George Q. Cannon, general superintendent; George Goddard first assistant general superintendent; Karl G. Maeser, second assistant general superintendent; George Reynolds, general treasurer.
As members of the Deseret Sunday School Union Board: George Q. Cannon, George Goddard, Karl G. Maeser, George Reynolds, Thomas C. Griggs, Joseph W. Summerhays, Levi W. Richards, Francis M. Lyman, Heber J. Grant, Joseph M. Tanner, George Teasdale, Hugh J. Cannon and Andrew Kimball.
As aids of the board: L. John Nuttall, James W. Ure, John F. Bennett, John M. Mills, W. B. Dougall, W. D. Owen, Seymour B. Young and C.D. Fjeldsted.
First Assistant General Superintendent George Goddard
requested all Sunday school teachers and Sunday school children present to rise to their feet. In response to this request almost the entire vast congregation arose.
First Assistant Superintendent George Goddard
then said. It is very pleasing to see so many that are interested in the youth of Zion. You may have noticed that when Brother Seymour B. Young called the names of the thirty-seven Stakes of Zion, representatives of all responded with the exception of eight.
During the last year annual Sunday school conferences have been held in every one of those Stakes, and at each of these conferences one or more of the members of the general board have had the privilege of being present.
It is very gratifying, and I, for one, felt extremely grateful to our Heavenly Father while listening to the statistics that were read the other day. During the last year we have had an increase of 165 Sunday schools, and of between five and six thousand Sunday school children. These are very encouraging facts.
In these annual conferences there is one subject that we seldom forget to speak about, it is to train our children in concert singing in the Sunday schools; to teach them to sing and take part in the praises of our Heavenly Father. And, in connection with that subject, I have been led to recommend that the fathers and the mothers bring their hymn books with them when they come to our religious assemblies. Who is expected to take part in the singing? All the Latter-day Saints have the privilege of joining in the song. It is good to have choirs to keep up the tone of the song and to lead; but to enjoy the singing, if you cannot sing without making discord, you must follow and take note of what is being sung and enjoy the principle or the doctrine that is contained in that song. In our prayers one person speaks, all the rest close their eyes and open their ears and when the prayer is ended for a response, they say amen.
Our Sunday school institution is a very elaborate one. The grand object and chief aim of our Sunday school efforts are to train up our children to become Latter-day Saints; that when they grow up they may show by their daily example that they have been taught the principles of the Gospel, and that they have been trained to true religious habits.
There are two grand principles that have been especially spoken upon during this conference. Since 1852 it has been my privilege to attend eighty-five conferences in this city, and I feel that the one that has just terminated has been better than any conference hitherto held. And I am going to prophesy about this conference. There will be more tithe payers, resulting from the instructions given at this conference, than there has ever been from any previous conference. More will go away from this conference and observe the Word of Wisdom than have ever left any previous conference. The Saints are improving. The object of our conferences is to make better Saints than we have been, and to remind us of the duties that we must henceforth more rigidly observe.
Many subjects have yet to be treated upon in relation to our Sunday schools. But I feel grateful to acknowledge the hand of my Heavenly Father that has been over us in this direction. God bless the superintendents, the teachers and the children connected with our schools.
We are waiting, anxiously waiting, for the superintendent of some Stake of Zion to send word to headquarters that not only the superintendents but all the teachers and children, that are old enough to learn anything, are strict observers of the law of tithing and of the Word of Wisdom. Superintendents, will you kindly labor to this end, that we may show forth the fruits of our labors, scattered through the Stakes of Zion. And that this may be the case, is my prayer, in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Elder Lars E. Eggersten
Elder Lars E. Eggersten
superintendent of Utah stake, said:
My brethren and sisters, I have the pleasure this evening of representing the stake superintendencies of Zion. My remarks will be specially addressed to First Assistant Superintendent George Goddard.
Brother George Goddard, this occasion, with permission, has been selected by the Stake superintendencies of the Sunday schools of Zion as a fitting occasion to express to you our esteem for the untiring efforts with which you have labored in the Sunday school cause, for holding up before us, both in precept and example, that ensign of the millennium the Word of Wisdom; for showing to us what a complete and consecrated devotion to a noble cause means. Accept, therefore, our appreciation of your wise counsel; our love by reason of your solicitude in our behalf; our determination to be true to the principles that have caused you to be so devotedly interested in bringing God’s children near to Him. We say with the poet:
“Master, go on, and I will follow Thee
To the last gasp, with truth and loyalty.”
We thank God for one whose life has exemplified Christ’s teaching, “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Accept the veneration which we would offer to one who has had an unfaltering faith in God’s laws; the reverence we feel for one whose life has been unselfish.
“He who strives the world to lift and save By deeds of sweet self-sacrifice And noble Christian love, Will find e’en though he seek an early grave, His image, pure as morning skies Reflected there above.”
Among the number who do you honor, some are crowned with hairs of silver and are named among the first in the great Sunday school cause of the Latter-day Saints. There are those, who, for many years, have borne the heat of much anxiety. And there are those who first knew you, when as little children, they heard your voice in melody sing, “Who’s on the Lord’s side, who?”
Tonight, Brother Goddard, we unitedly ask you to accept a token, and to permit us, by the hand of one of Zion’s fair daughters, to place upon your breast this medal, inscribed as follows: “To George Goddard, April 10th, 1898. Who’s on the Lord’s side, who? From Zion’s Sunday School Stake Superintendencies, representing 37 Stakes, 630 Schools, 10,429 officers and teachers and 88,497 pupils.” And at the same time we assure you by this token that we shall ever strive to follow your precepts and emulate your worthy example. We also ask you to accept this purse, the contents of which you are to use in the manner that will give you the most joy.
Sister Alice McLachlan then pinned the gold clasp and medal on Brother Goddard’s bosom, and the purse containing $100 was handed him.
The Tabernacle choir and congregation sang
“Who’s on the Lord’s side, who?.”
To Elder George Goddard, First Assistant General Superintendent Latter-day Saints’ Sunday Schools, Salt Lake City, Utah:
Dear Brother: In connection with the medal and purse presented to you by the various Stake superintendencies of the Sunday schools of Zion, it may not be improper to give you a brief outline of the movement from its inception, and it is with that object in view that this sketch is written.
Let us say by way of introduction that this movement has been in mind for two years, but the method of procedure was not definitely settled until the beginning of the present year. Since the idea first presented itself, several of the Stake Sunday school superintendents were consulted, and each one expressed himself in favorable terms, and pledged cooperation in whatever might be undertaken.
At a meeting of the Utah Stake superintendency in January, 1898, a formal motion was carried, that a letter be written to each Stake superintendent, explaining the matter, and asking for $1, and for suggestions as to what would be suitable for a present, and best express to you the feelings of the Sunday school workers.
To this letter came a hearty response from nearly all of the Stakes, some giving one suggestion, some another; a number felt that the amount proposed was entirely inadequate. Those who did not make any suggestion left the matter with the Utah Stake officers to select whatever they thought proper. Among the letters most ardently advocating that more should be done than was at first intended, was that of the superintendency of the Salt Lake Stake, these brethren being really the fathers of the idea which has now taken bodily shape that the present to you be a medal and a purse. It was acted upon, a report was made to the various Stake officers, and again encouragement in the labor of love was given. Almost every letter has had words something like the following:
“I heartily concur in the idea of making a present to Superintendent George Goddard, who has labored so long and so faithfully in behalf of the Sunday schools of Zion, and think that too much cannot be done for him. Enclosed you will find a post office order and if you need more, let us know.”
Not only did the Stake officers respond to the suggestion, but private parties who heard of the affair incidentally, desired and asked for the privilege of contributing for the purpose of showing the esteem in which you are held by all of the Latter-day Saints.
Arrangements were made with your co-laborers in the general superintendency, Brothers George Q. Cannon and Karl G. Maeser, to have the presentation made at the regular Deseret Sunday school conference on the evening of April 10, 1898, and a short program was arranged with their consent and approval.
The letters relating to the affair have been carefully filed and will be preserved for future reference; they form a portion of the history of what was, up to the present time, perhaps, the largest surprise party in the history of the world.
And now, dear brother, in behalf of all the Sunday schools of Zion, permit us to congratulate you upon the work you have done, a general summary of which you have compiled as follows:
“Fourteen months’ mission to Canada, by handcart to Missouri river, in 1857 and 1858.
“Three years gathering rags for paper, 1861-62-63, as a mission.
“Nine years superintendent Thirteenth ward Sunday schools, from 1867 to 1876.
“Nine years superintendent Salt Lake Stake Sunday school, from 1873 to 1882.
“Twenty-seven years clerk to Presiding Bishop Edward Hunter, from 1856 to 1883.
“Twenty-five years first assistant general superintendent of Deseret Sunday School Union, from 1872.
“Ten years clerk of general conference, from 1874 to 1884.
“Four years clerk of the School of the Prophets.
“Three years clerk and treasurer to the Salt Lake Assembly Hall, from 1877 to 1880.
“Twenty years Teacher in Thirteenth ward.
“Twenty years member of Tabernacle choir.
“Twenty-five years member Thirteenth ward choir.
“Twenty-two years member of the Old Folks’ committee from 1875.
“Paid in tithing, temple and fast offerings over $12,000, or an average of $270 a year for over forty-four years.
“During the past forty-four years, I have missed very few ward meetings. Tabernacle, quorum, and fast meetings.
“I have had the pleasure of being present at over eighty of our general conferences in Salt Lake City, and attending nearly every meeting at each conference.
“I am now between 81 and 82 years old, and during the past three years, have traveled between twenty and thirty thousand miles in the interest and for the benefit of the youth of Zion who are connected with our Sunday schools.
“I use neither tea, coffee, tobacco, wine, beer, or liquor, and I am blest of the Lord with good health, which causes my heart to rejoice exceedingly.”
We ask God to spare your life until you are entirely satisfied. We know that so long as any one of the thousands of children shall be alive, who have heard your voice in songs of prayer and praise, and in exhortation, you will not be forgotten; and after all the present generation shall pass away, your labors will be read of by the Saints, and encouragement will be occasioned in the hearts of the faithful, who cannot but know of some of the difficulties which you have overcome by your persistent and untiring efforts to advance the interests of the Kingdom of God on the earth.
Your brethren in the Sunday school cause, and in behalf of the Stake superintendencies,
LARS E. EGGERTSEN, ALFRED L. BOOTH,
WM. S. RAWLINS. E. H. HOLT, Sec’y Utah Stake.
Father reverend and friend beloved, And brother, true through many years. Reap here tonight, a little sheaf From seeds thous’t sown in smiles and tears. Reap from our o’er laden hearts A mite of what thous’t scattered there In “Seeds of Kindness:” let thy song Prove its own worth: its truth declare. Our good absorbs the very life: Thine every thought our constant weal: What pleasure, in return, for us. To feebly show the love we feel. No, not in vain thine earnest word Thy noble voice in song and prayer: The youth throughout the land have heard And pondered o’er their sense, most rare. And ready a valiant hero brave Stands “On the Lord’s Side” firm today; Who but for thee might still have been But loitering, heedless, on the way. Give us the joy with thee to feel That love to love may here express Its very self in gratitude; For loving deeds and power to bless. How blest thou art in ripened age; How blest to work while life shall last; In deeds of good still be thou blest Forever more, as in the past.
To Brother George Goddard, from Evan Stephens.
General Superintendent George Q. Cannon
General Superintendent George Q. Cannon
said. To me this is an unusually interesting occasion; and I am sure every heart present rejoices exceedingly in this opportunity of expressing the feelings that we all have towards Elder George Goddard. There has nothing been said here that he has not deserved. There is no eulogy that has been pronounced that is unmerited. Brother George Goddard has been especially endowed in this direction. His labors have been indefatigable. And none who have known his course can feel otherwise than that this testimonial is well deserved. I thought, while Brother Eggertsen was describing the feelings which prompted and speaking of the testimonial, that there is another occasion I hope that it is some distance off, that is if it involves the life of our beloved brother an occasion when he will be crowned in the presence of God and the Lamb. That time will come and we shall witness it; because George Goddard, as I fully believe, will be faithful to the end, and will earn a crown of glory in the presence of God and the Lamb. That he may be blessed during the remainder of his life, that he may have physical vigor you all know that his voice has been preserved; I trust it will be while he shall live physical vigor to go, as he delights in going, to visit the various conferences of the Church in the various Stakes of Zion, until the Lord shall be fully satisfied with his labors, and he himself feel that he has completed the work assigned to him below, which is my prayer in his behalf, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Elder Francis M. Lyman
Elder Francis M. Lyman
I dislike to change the course of pleasure and joy that we have tasted because of this movement in favor of Elder Goddard. I have been on his track for a great many years and I have never found a person disposed to speak otherwise than to this great credit and honor. He lives in the hearts of all the Saints, the children and their parents and everybody. And I wonder why we shall not emulate the great example that he has set before us. I trust we may, and that when we have come to the weight of years that he is under tonight, that good things can be said of us, and that we too may live in the hearts of the people because of our many years of faithful labor.
I desire to speak a few words to you in regard to the subject of presiding in the Sunday schools, that is by the superintendents. We have noticed occasionally that the superintendent of a Sunday school is inclined to be so generous that he divides up the honor of presiding with his assistants, when he is present himself. And I wonder sometimes if the brethren have not taken from what they have seen, or what appears before us, in presiding in the general conferences and other places, that the duty of a president or a superintendent is intended to be shared and divided, so that one may be president on one occasion and his assistant or counselor upon another. I believe that the proper way is for the superintendent to preside, when he is present, and to direct all the affairs of the Sunday schools as a superintendent or president should do. So that visiting a Sunday school you may know who the superintendent is, or know who the presiding person is in that school. It is the duty of a president or superintendent to preside when present; when he is absent it is the business of has first assistant or counselor; and in the absence of the superintendent and the first assistant it is the duty of the second assistant. But the man whose duty it is to preside cannot lay off that responsibility; it is his business to exercise it; not that he should do all that is to be done, but what is done should be under his presidency and direction, when present. We notice here in our general conference that President Cannon and President Smith are called upon to present the business before the conference, just as President S. B. Young here acting as the clerk, calls the roll and presents the authorities of the Sunday school. Brother Goddard, as the first assistant superintendent, here, does his talking and often the work as general superintendent. But in the presence of General Superintendent George Q. Cannon, who is the head and who is the chief everything is conducted here just as he directs. I have noticed that Bishops as well in their council and ward meetings and presidents of Stakes also, sometimes surrender their meetings to the counselors instead of the chief or president attending to the business of presiding. My view of this is, in order to avoid confusion, that the chief or president who is called to preside is entitled to the presiding inspiration of the occasion, and that the presiding inspiration rests upon his first assistant in the absence of the superintendent or president. But otherwise conducted we find it produces confusion. I wanted to make this suggestion. I have one more word to say and then I will finish. The time is precious.
I have noticed in my travels throughout the Church that the Sunday schools and the parents of the Sunday school children are not patronizing the organ of the Sunday schools as it ought to be patronized. They are not failing on every occasion, for there are many wards where the Juvenile Instructor is well sustained, but we find very many wards where it is not sustained as it ought to be. It should be in every family; it should be in the homes of the people. It is worthy of the patronage of the Latter-day Saints, and we want to see it patronized and encouraged by the Church. It is suited to the parents, it is suited to the children and all ages; it is an authority, it speaks with the voice of authority unto the Latter-day Saints, and ought to be thoroughly well patronized by all the people.
God bless you my brethren and sisters. Workers in the Sunday schools, do not weary, but live to win the same kind of crown which President Cannon says shall be placed upon the brow of Elder Goddard and if you desire such a name, win it for yourself by following the footsteps of that great man in the Sunday school cause. Amen.
Second Assistant Karl G. Maeser
Second Assistant Karl G. Maeser
said. It will be scarcely necessary on my part to say with how much of my whole heart I rejoice in what we have witnessed in honor of our fellow-laborer, Brother Goddard. And I add my prayer and blessing to what has been said and done in his behalf on the present occasion.
The subject that has been assigned me to speak on for a few minutes is the way and manner in which annual Sunday School Stake conferences should be conducted. According to the view of the Sunday School Union Board, all the exercises of our annual Stake conferences should be patterns and models for everything that is done in the Sunday schools; so that when the superintendents, teachers, officers and pupils of the various Sunday schools of the Stake return home they can say, “That is the way it was done at conference, and that is the way it should be done in our Sunday school.” This means in regard to the discipline, seating, good order and also in the carrying out of the program. The singing also should be a pattern. There should be two or three choirs, the best that can be found in the Stake, to perform the singing, so that the Sunday schools of the Stake may have something on that point as a pattern and model to follow after. The marching to the various classes, the recitation of the classes that have exercises, should be done in such a beautiful, well trained way, that all the other Sunday schools can take pattern and follow them.
There has been, to the sorrow and regret of the members of the Sunday School Union Board, here and there among the conferences, a failure in regard to these matters. Programs have been made but they were not carried out. I remember in two or three instances during my last visit in the South, that a thorough program, very neatly laid out, was presented to me, but when it came to its execution there was nobody to respond. The superintendent was full of excuses. This is not a pattern or model. There is sufficient time given to all the superintendents to have the necessary arrangements made previous to the Sunday school conferences; so that when the teachers, superintendents and representatives of the various Sunday schools gather together they may see something that serves them as a guide in their labors. Every Sunday school conference should be a stepping stone and an improvement upon the one that has been held the year before; so that when the members of the Sunday School Union Board come around they can notice the progress, not only by the reports that are made by the superintendents, but also by the various exercises that constitute the program of the conference during the Saturday’s and Sunday’s exercises. The Sunday School Union Board desire that the superintendents and officers of the Sunday schools will act on this matter, that from now on we shall notice in our various visits a marked improvement in this direction.
Elder Seymour B. Young
Elder Seymour B. Young
I am reminded of a circumstance that I wish to relate. A large court room was filled with judge, jury and spectators. An interesting trial was on, a woman being accused of unChristianlike conduct by a drunken husband. In the accusation it was said that she was not a proper person to rear her children. When the accusation was read by the clerk, the judge turned to the accused and said to her, “Madam, what have you to say to the charges?” She said in reply, “May it please your honor, I have taught my children to the best of my ability to be honest, God-fearing and sober, good children.” There was one of her little girls, four years of age, sitting upon one of the high stools in the court room at the mother’s side. The judge said, “Madam. I will prove you” and so said to the little girl, “What is your name?” She Said, “My name is Mary.” “Mary,” said the judge, “Can you pray?” Without any answer, the little child climbed from the high stool, knelt down upon the floor of the dirty court room and lifted her little eyes to heaven and clasping her hands repeated, without one stop or break, the Lord’s prayer. When she had closed the prayer and said amen, every heart in that room was melted and every eye filled with tears. “Gentlemen of the jury,” said the judge, “I instruct you to give your verdict in favor of this woman, for a mother who can so teach her children in the way of true Christianity is indeed a proper person to rear those children, and they should be left in her charge.”
I relate this, my brethren and sisters, to impress upon your minds the wonderful power for good that can be made and impressed forever upon the hearts of our little children in these wonderful Sunday schools of the Latter-day Saints, where they are being taught and made acquainted with these noble principles, not only of the Lord’s prayer, but of living its precepts and the wonderful example that is contained within its tones and utterances.
In relation to our friend, Brother George Goddard, I will quote: “If I should die tonight you would drop a tear on my pale, cold brow and say good things about me. O, do not wait till I am dead, let me hear those good things now, and let me feel, while the heart’s warm blood is coursing through my veins, that I have gained love and esteem from those I love best.” I am glad that we did not wait until Brother Goddard was dead before we showed him our love and something of our appreciation for his noble life work,
Elder George Reynolds
Elder George Reynolds
said. As treasurer of the Sunday School Union Board I wish to report that I have received from the various Stakes on Nickel Fund account for 1897, $2,860.
This is in excess of the collections of previous years. But I will say that during the same period the Union has distributed in literature charts, leaflets, and books, to the different Stakes and to the various missions of the Church more than this amount by several hundred dollars. And I would ask if the Stake treasurers have any means on hand that they will kindly send it to me as soon as possible so that I may close this account on my books.
I will now read the suggested dates Saturdays and Sundays on which the forthcoming annual Stake Sunday school conferences will be held:
April 30th and May 1st, Sanpete (Manti); May 7th and 8th, St. George; 14th and 15th, Parowan; 21st and 22nd, Millard; 28th and 29th, Juab; June 11th and 12th, Utah; 18th and 19th, Wasatch; 25th and 26th, Malad; July 2nd and 3rd, Wayne; 9th and 10th, Sevier Bear Lake; 16th and 17th, Morgan Star Valley; 23rd and 24th, Bingham; 30th and 31st, Bannock; August 6th and 7th, Alberta; 13th and 14th, Boxelder Cassia; 20th and 21st, Cache San Juan; 27th and 28th, Tooele; September 10th and 11th, Summit Beaver(Adamsville); 17th and 18th, Oneida Kanab; 24th and 25th, Weber Panguitch.
Should a Stake superintendency wish to change its dates, they may submit their wishes to the General Board and if possible they will be complied with.
We have just received from the publishers No. 4 of our Bible Charts. It is a very admirable collection, treating on incidents connected with the life of our Savior and His Apostles. These charts are now on sale at the office of the Sunday School Union in the Templeton building.
I wish now to draw the attention of those superintendents and teachers who use the leaflets that this month a change is made from the Bible to the Book of Mormon. For many months past our leaflets have been devoted to Bible subjects, and having considered the ten commandments it was thought a good place to turn from the Bible for a time and resume Book of Mormon history, which has been taken up at the point where the last leaflet on that subject closed. Studies from the Book of Mormon will probably be continued during the whole of the present year.
On the back of miniature card No. 12, accompanying No. 2 Book of Mormon Chart is what appears to be an error in the lesson statement and in the questions and answers. The picture on the card represents the baptism of King Limhi by the Prophet Alma. In this lesson it is stated that Alma and his people reached the land of Zarahemla from the land of Lehi-Nephi before Limhi and his people did. Though no exact statement is made in the Book of Mormon in regard to this, yet the presumption, from the historical narrative, is very strong that Limhi and his people reached there before Alma and his people. Therefore those who are teaching from this chart, when they reach this point, will please draw attention to this apparent error.
A quartette was sung by Brother Thomas Ashworth and associates.
General Superintendent George Q. Cannon (2)
General Superintendent George Q. Cannon (2)
said. I will tell you heaven is not far off it seems as though it had come down here close to us. That is the feeling as though there were heavenly beings here, and a very sweet spirit. I am sure you all feel it.
I wish, before making any further remarks, to propose that President Joseph F. Smith be a member of the Deseret Sunday School Union Board. The business of choosing members of this board I have done but little about; but it struck me this evening that President Smith’s name should be among the members of this board. All who are in favor of this will manifest it by raising the right hand. (Vote unanimous). I am sure he will accept of it.
I see I am put down for some remarks. I want to speak in the first place upon the “Nickel fund.” For many years I was opposed, very strenuously opposed, to take up subscriptions from the Sunday schools. I felt we should manage our affairs without imposing the least burden upon the children or parents; that there should be nothing in the shape of assessments, if you call it such, collected from the Sunday schools. As the general superintendent, I, for one, did not want anything of this kind that would be the least unpleasant, and for a great many years this has been carried out. My views upon this point prevailed; though there were many times it seemed as though something of this kind should be done, because of the necessities of the Union. But we were able to get along and keep out of debt. We managed our affairs so that there was no debt, and we have since managed them so that there is no debt. But it was thought necessary, eventually, to establish what is called the “Nickel fund,” a contribution of five cents from each child, once a year; and as we have been told tonight by our treasurer, that more than the value of these contributions have been returned to the schools, the purpose being not to burden the people, not to burden the children, not to burden their parents, and not to have anything of this kind associated with the Sunday school movement. But I have learned of late that there is a disposition in some of the Stakes to take up local subscriptions for the “Nickel fund,” that is for purposes connected with the local organizations.
Now, I wish to express myself on this point before this conference or gathering of Sunday school workers.
I want to say that I am not in favor of anything of this kind. Let us not permit ourselves to be drawn into measures of this kind. Let us conduct this movement without resorting to taxation of this character, and bringing ourselves into disrepute. I feel that this is very important, and feel impressed upon this, for I heard lately of several collections of this kind being taken up in the various Stakes or wards. Let us get along with good management without doing this. Do not burden the people, and do not bring our annual nickel fund into disrepute. I trust that our superintendents and those in charge of our Sunday schools will avoid everything of this kind. Do it in some other way. It can be done with good management. Do not make our Sunday schools collecting agencies. We have now for twenty-six years had this organization and it has not been burdensome, it has not been oppressive, or become odious through taxation, and let us avoid it.
Another point that I have felt very much impressed upon of late, it is in relation to the character of our literature. There is a disposition to introduce different kinds of studies in the Sunday schools. I have written some on this point in the Juvenile Instructor. There are 168 hours in our week. Out of those 168 hours we devote one hour and a half to the instruction of our children. We have about one hour and a half out of the 168. Now shall we introduce other studies in the schools to occupy the attention and engage the minds of our children? I think it wrong; and I wish to say this to those assembled, it is wrong. Let us devote the one and a half hours that the school occupies to the study of the word of God, where the children are old enough to read and understand it. And our theological classes, instead of having different works in the classes, let us confine the study to the Scriptures the word of God. The object of our Sunday schools is to make Latter-day Saints of our children, that was the object in view when the Sunday schools were organized. Let us use this time for this purpose and for no other. If our children, young men or others, wish to study other works, let them take the time outside of the Sunday schools. They have plenty of time. One hundred and sixty-six and a half hours are left to them to sleep and perform their various labors and to study. That gives them ample opportunity to acquire a knowledge of that which they may desire to obtain in connection with their Sunday school studies. I think you will all see the propriety of this. Let us give our children a thorough knowledge of our Scriptures, of the word of God, the Bible, that is, the Old and New Testaments, the Book of Mormon, the Pearl of Great Price; the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, is too advanced for our young children, but the older ones can read it. I desire to impress upon you the necessity of making our children thoroughly familiar with the contents and teachings of these books. I know the children would be more benefited by them, by reading and paying attention to them, than anything that we can do or say for them in the shape of lessons or giving them other subjects or books to read. I trust that all will see the propriety of this.
I have been led in visiting the conferences and in talking to the Sunday school children, to dwell upon the importance of the Word of Wisdom. I have also written upon the same subject. I know it is thought by some to be a threadbare subject; but I have felt impressed to talk to the children and to cease talking to the parents in the Church upon that subject. They have had instruction enough. I have felt to leave this with themselves. But I have desired, and have so expressed myself, that our children should be brought up to be a new generation, so to speak, that there will not be a tea drinker, a coffee drinker, a tobacco user, a liquor or beer drinker in the whole generation; that we may have a generation that can say “I never tasted tea and coffee, I never tasted tobacco, I never use any of these intoxicants;” that a whole generation shall grow up in that way. It can be done through the agencies of the Sunday schools; for every child can be so taught. But if parents use these articles, the children can say, “Well, my parents grew up under different circumstances to those that surround me; but I am not going to taste these articles; I am not going to acquire the least desire for them, and know anything about their influence upon my body.”
I have taken the liberty of urging this course upon the children, and have said if you will do this you will have satisfaction during your life, and we will raise up a generation of this kind, very different to the generation to whom the Word of Wisdom has been preached now for over sixty years. So much on that point.
I do not want to trespass upon your time; we have had so many meetings. But there is one point I would like to mention, and that is that the Mutual Improvement Associations should endeavor, we wish to say that to the brethren in charge, as much as possible, to refrain from taking the superintendents of the Sunday schools as missionaries, or to act in other capacities.
My brethren and sisters, let us glorify God with all our hearts for what He is doing for our children. I feel as though we were going to raise a mighty generation. Every heart should be encouraged for that which God has done and is doing for us. The future before us is of the grandest description. If we will open our eyes to see and look with the eye of faith, we will see how rapidly God is fulfilling His promises, and how glorious is the prospect of the fulfillment, the future fulfillment of those that are yet unfulfilled. God bless you all, in the name of Jesus. Amen.
First Assistant Superintendent George Goddard
First Assistant Superintendent George Goddard
said. I thank my Heavenly Father for what my eyes have seen and what my hands have received from Thy servants and Thine handmaidens. I ask Thee to accept my thanks and gratitude, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
President Joseph F. Smith
President Joseph F. Smith
I feel also very grateful for the recognition that has been given me this evening by President Cannon and this body of teachers of Sunday schools, and I hope to be able to labor in connection with my brethren in the Sunday school cause, as I always have done, and more faithfully, if possible, in the future, and as opportunity may present. I have always had a lively interest in the youth of Zion and in the children of Zion, and I have always felt that nothing I could do would be too much, if it could be directed in the interest and welfare of the children of the people of God. I feel very grateful for the recognition and of the calling to which I have been called this evening. I feel very grateful to the brethren in my spirit for the kindness and for the high appreciation which they have manifested toward Brother George Goddard for his faithful and efficient labors in the Sunday school cause. I feel that they have done honor to themselves in thus recognizing the faithful and valiant services of this our veteran brother in this cause. And may God bless Brother Goddard and continue his health and strength many years to come, that he may pursue his labors as heretofore in the interest of the young people of Zion. May the Lord bless those who contributed this beautiful medal and purse of money for his benefit, and I feel that the Lord will bless them therefor. Amen.
Guide Us O Thou Great Jehovah was sung.
Benediction by Elder George Teasdale.
Secretary pro tem. Deseret Sunday School Union.