I am glad to enjoy the opportunity of meeting with the brethren and
sisters at this Conference. I am also glad that we have heard the
instructions which have been imparted to us. The principle of the
Saints being united is one that we have labored to establish from the
commencement up to the present time. Every Saint who has any knowledge
of the gospel as it has been revealed to us in these last days, knows
that this principle has been impressed on their minds from the time
they first heard the gospel. Still, with all our labors and exertions
in the past, we have not yet reached this point, and we must continue
our labors for the accomplishment of this object.
When we are united in all things, the Lord will be able to use us in
very deed for the building up of His Kingdom; until then, He can use
us only as we are willing to be used. We say we are the people of God,
and that we are laboring to build up His Kingdom, but when we come to
think of it, we only do that which we can persuade ourselves to do.
We should be willing to do everything that the Lord requires us to do,
and even if we are, there is still great need for us to improve and
progress. This has been incumbent upon us from the time we embraced
the gospel, but more especially at this Conference, and when we make
up our minds individually and collectively to do all things that the
Lord requires of us, it will be a comparatively easy matter for us to
do so. We do not expect to learn everything at this Conference,
but we can make ourselves willing to learn righteous principles, and
we can, if we choose, adopt them as fast as we learn them.
We are placed under circumstances where we can apply our labors for
the accomplishment of the designs of the Almighty here on the earth,
and we ought to esteem this as a very great privilege.
There are a great many notions and opinions with regard to the work of
God and the building up of His Kingdom on the earth. We have received
the everlasting gospel from the heavens. It found us in the various
nations of the earth, and it has gathered us to this place for the
purpose of establishing the principles of righteousness and of
building up the Kingdom of God on the earth. As we have heard this
afternoon, and on many other occasions, the gospel we have obeyed
embraces all truth on earth and in heaven. We have not to emigrate to
some other world to find truth. We find it where we are; it is taught
to us faster than we are willing to receive and practice it; and I can
bear testimony that it has ever been so. We have never had to wait to
know what was the right course for us to pursue. "Labor for the
building of the Kingdom of God," has been the counsel given to us
continually, and when we have been called upon to perform any labor,
no matter in what direction, it has been with that object in view.
I have been reflecting a little in relation to the state of society
which would soon be in existence if the counsel given from this stand
this Conference were to be observed. We would soon find a great deal
more peace, love, and oneness among the Saints than have existed in
times past; and, if we ever expect to be one, we, as a people, must
adopt in our lives those principles that have been and are continually
taught us by the servants of the Lord. If we ever expect to have
heaven, we must adopt those principles that will make heaven for us.
We have had the gospel revealed to us from the heavens, for the
purpose of bringing about that state of things here that exists in
heaven. And it will most assuredly result in this if we will
faithfully observe its principles. A faithful adherence to the
principles of the gospel will cure all the evils we now endure. Where
difficulties exist with individuals or communities, we would find, if
they were traced to their source, that they exist simply because the
principles of the gospel have not been adopted and applied.
It is this labor that lies before us to learn the principles of the
gospel of salvation, and to apply them in our lives. This will remove
the evils we have to encounter, and will bring about union and
happiness; and, no matter where our lot may be cast, will make for us
a heaven upon earth. This is a joyous labor, and one in which all
should unite with an unwavering determination. By so doing we will
sustain those who preside over us, and our efforts will most
effectually tend to build up the Kingdom of God on the earth.
How can this Kingdom be built up unless God dictates? And how can we
labor to serve Him unless He dictates us? And how will He do this? He
will do it, as He ever has done, by and through His servants whom He
has placed at our head. In this way we can be united in building up
God's Kingdom and in moving forward His work on the earth. This is a
very great privilege, the possession of which confers upon us great
honor and blessings. When the whole people are united in, and live
continually according to, the principles of the gospel in all things,
evils and difficulties will vanish from their midst like snow
before the rays of the sun, and soon the knowledge of God will cover
the earth as the waters cover the deep.
We have yet much to learn, but I often think that we can do more for
the spread of truth and the work we are engaged in than we imagine. We
can read of individuals among the ancients who performed wonders on
the principle of faith. They subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness,
obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, and performed many
wonderful works. Can we not do something on the principle of faith?
Can we not have power with God as well as the ancients, if we labor
continually to carry out His designs? I am satisfied that if we all go
home and carry out the principles which have been taught to us during
this Conference we shall soon see happy results flowing therefrom.
There is a responsibility resting upon us all to do so, and we should
discharge that responsibility honorably before God and each other. By
following the counsel given us during this Conference, our union,
peace, and best interests will be greatly advanced and forwarded.
Severe indisposition prevented me from being present at last fall
Conference, but I am thankful that I am present now. I always rejoice
to be at Conference, or at any meeting with the Saints. I love to see
and talk to them, and I love to hear others talk, and I love to use my
influence to move forward and build up the cause of Zion, and to
establish righteousness on the earth. We all ought to cultivate this
kind of feeling and principle. We never need be afraid if we are doing
right, but fear only to do wrong. Individuals are apt to think
sometimes that if they do a wrong no person in the world knows it but
themselves, but it is known also to God, and if a wrong is known to
God and to the one who commits it, his influence with God is
destroyed, and it lowers him in his own estimation. Suppose, for
instance, that a person wants a favor of President Young, but he has
done some wrong that is known to the President, he cannot ask that
favor with any confidence, but his head is cast down, and he feels
condemned because of the wrong he has done. How much more is this the
case when seeking blessings from the Lord. We should think of this in
our course through life. We should also remember that the Lord has
said, that "inasmuch as ye do it to one of the least of these my
servants, ye do it unto me."
When we apply this principle to our conduct, strictly and properly, we
shall feel that we do not want to injure anybody or do anything wrong,
and injuries and wrongs will fast disappear and will be soon blotted
out of existence. This is what we are laboring for, and this course of
conduct will move forward the cause of Zion, and enable us to do all
things the Lord requires of us.
That we may labor to accomplish this work faithfully is my prayer, in
the name of Jesus. Amen.
- Charles C. Rich