I will embrace the present opportunity for making a few remarks, as I
expect to leave this city before another Sabbath, to be gone several
You have heard good instructions, counsel, and advice from Amasa Lyman
and Charles C. Rich; I desire to profit by their sayings, and I hope
this people will.
We see men before us who are old Elders in this Church, veterans in
the kingdom of God; I hope they will live many years to grace our
ranks. Those who have been in the Church from the beginning are men and
women who have paid attention to their faith, and to the doctrine of
sound common sense; they have been good scholars, and by this time
must understand tolerably well what they believe. They must also be
schooled in the study of man, and in matters which pertain to nations
and kingdoms, and in circumstances which concern us as individuals.
The doctrine we have heard is good; we have listened to principles
that pertain to life and salvation; and I repeat again what you have
heard often, "Secure for yourselves first the kingdom of heaven and
its righteousness." When you have done this, every good principle,
every good thing, every great endowment, every peaceful influence, and
all that can be enjoyed by celestial beings are and will be yours.
We may be within the pale of the kingdom of God on earth, yet we are
liable to be overcome of evil. There are many spirits who have gone
abroad in the world, and men are overcome by false spirits, and led
astray from the path of truth. They will begin by doing some evil
thing out of sight, and say, "O, it is nothing, it is a mere trifle,
and the Lord is merciful, and forgiveth sin." The sins which are
considered trifles lay the foundation for greater evils, and expose
men to be tempted, and buffeted by Satan, and they will be overcome
little by little, until by and by they are overtaken in a fault which
is more aggravating in the sight of justice, which lays the foundation
for another trial more severe, and to be buffeted more by the devil,
for they lay themselves more liable to his power. We might refer you
to many instances of Elders of Israel becoming victims to evil—but I
pass over that disagreeable matter.
God never bestows His grace upon an individual without trying it in
that person, to see if the compound is good. Men do not realize this,
nor think upon it as they ought; if they did they would be more
careful never to speak against the Father, against the Son, against
any heavenly being, or against any being on the earth.
Brethren, seek first the kingdom of heaven and its righteousness, then
all the blessings that brother Amasa anticipates enjoying will be
yours. But no man or woman can enjoy them unless they have
first secured to themselves the kingdom of heaven—unless they have
secured to themselves eternal life.
Our bodies are satisfied with plenty of food, and we have property
around us of various kinds, which satisfies our temporal wants for the
moment. But, as I told you some time since, the king seated upon his
throne wearing a glittering crown, and surrounded with all the glory
of his greatness today, tomorrow may be numbered with the beggar,
and his crown given to another. Today we possess riches, and
tomorrow they may take the wings of the morning and leave us poor
How long shall we enjoy the happiness we now enjoy, in coming to this
house to worship the Lord, and in associating in other capacities with
our dear friends? Perhaps by another Sabbath many of us may be laid
away, if not in the graveyard, upon a bed of sickness. We cannot trust
to the certainty of mortal possessions; they are transitory, and a
dependence upon them will plunge into hopeless disappointment all
those who trust in them. When men act upon the principles which will
secure to them eternal salvation, they are sure of obtaining all their
hearts' desire, sooner or later; if it does not come today, it may
come tomorrow; if it does not come in this time, it will in the next.
If people would contemplate the stupendous works of God, and be honest
and candid in their investigations, there is much to be learned that
would show them how comparatively worthless are earthly things. We see
the spangled vault of the starry heavens stretched over us; but little
is known of the wonders of the firmament. Astronomers have, by their
researches, discovered some general facts that have proved useful and
instructing to the scientific portion of mankind. The phenomena of the
motions of the heavenly bodies, and their times and seasons are
understood pretty accurately. But who knows what those distant planets
are? Who can tell the part they play in the grand theater of worlds?
Who inhabits them, and who rules over them? Do they contain
intelligent beings, who are capable of the happiness, light, glory,
power, and enjoyments that would satisfy the mind of an angel of God?
Who can tell these things? Can they be discovered by the light of
science? They cannot. Let every intelligent person seriously
contemplate this subject, and let the true light of reason illuminate
the understanding, and a sound judgment inspired by the Spirit of
Christ be your guide, and what will be your conclusions? They will be
what mine are—that the Lord Almighty reigns there; that His people are
there; and that they are, or have been, earths to fulfil a similar
destiny to the one we inhabit; and there is eternity; and as Enoch of
old said—"Thy curtains are stretched out still."
Can any of the astronomers in the world point out the kingdom or the
world where God is not? Where He does not reign? Can a kingdom be
found, by worldly wisdom, study, or by any means that can be employed,
over which He does not sway His scepter? If such a kingdom exists, I
will acknowledge that the doctrine I taught you the other day is
incorrect; and besides that, you will have to blot out some of the
writings of the ancient Scriptures.
I wish to make an application of this, with the sayings we have heard
from brother Amasa Lyman today.
We talk about true riches—about the eternal attributes of the
Deity—and about that which He has given to the children of men. I also
heard something said the other day about sanctification. This doctrine
I heard taught many years ago, and I perceive that men do not fully
understand these principles; even the best of the Latter-day
Saints have but a faint idea of the attributes of the Deity.
Were the former and Latter-day Saints, with their Apostles, Prophets,
Seers, and Revelators collected together to discuss this matter, I am
led to think there would be found a great variety in their views and
feelings upon this subject without direct revelation from the Lord.
It is as much my right to differ from other men, as it is theirs to
differ from me, in points of doctrine and principle, when our minds
cannot at once arrive at the same conclusion. I feel it sometimes very
difficult indeed to word my thoughts as they exist in my own mind,
which, I presume, is the grand cause of many apparent differences in
sentiment which may exist among the Saints.
What I consider to be virtue, and the only principle of virtue there
is, is to do the will of our Father in heaven. That is the only virtue
I wish to know. I do not recognize any other virtue than to do what
the Lord Almighty requires of me from day to day. In this sense virtue
embraces all good; it branches out into every avenue of mortal life,
passes through the ranks of the sanctified in heaven, and makes its
throne in the breast of the Deity. When the Lord commands the people,
let them obey. That is virtue.
The same principle will embrace what is called sanctification. When
the will, passions, and feelings of a person are perfectly submissive
to God and His requirements, that person is sanctified. It is for my
will to be swallowed up in the will of God, that will lead me into all
good, and crown me ultimately with immortality and eternal lives.
There are numbers of men who can say much with regard to their faith
in, and exalted views of "Mormonism;" they could converse continually
about it. In a word, if "Mormonism" is not my life, I do not know that
I have any. I do not understand anything else, for it embraces
everything that comes within the range of the understanding of man. If
it does not circumscribe everything that is in heaven and on earth, it
is not what it purports to be.
I will inform you how I became a "Mormon" —how the first solid
impression was made upon my mind. When I undertook to sound the
doctrine of "Mormonism," I supposed I could handle it as I could the
Methodist, Presbyterian, and other creeds of Christendom, which I had
paid some considerable attention to, from the first of my knowing
anything about religion. When "Mormonism" was first presented to me, I
had not seen one sect of religionists whose doctrines, from beginning
to end, did not appear to me like the man's masonry which he had in a
box, and which he exhibited for a certain sum. He opened the main box
from which he took another box; he unlocked that and slipped out
another, then another, and another, and thus continued to take box out
of box until he came to an exceedingly small piece of wood; he then
said to the spectators, "That, gentlemen and ladies, is free masonry."
I found all religions comparatively like this—they were so deficient
in doctrine that when I tried to tie the loose ends and fragments
together, they would break in my hands. When I commenced to examine
"Mormonism," I found it impossible to take hold of either end of it; I
found it was from eternity, passed through time, and into eternity
again. When I discovered this, I said, "It is worthy of the notice of
man." Then I applied my heart to wisdom, and sought diligently for
But the natural wisdom and judgment which were given me from my youth,
were sufficient to enable me to easily comprehend the
discrepancies and lack in the creeds of the day.
"Mormonism" is all in all to me; everything else in the shape of false
government and false religion will perish in the due time of the Lord,
or else the ancient Prophets have been mistaken. If death is not
destroyed, and him that hath the power of it, and every man and woman
who are not prepared to enjoy a kingdom where angels administer, then
much of the Bible is exceedingly erroneous. Every kingdom will be
blotted out of existence, except the one whose ruling spirit is the
Holy Ghost; and whose king is the Lord. The Lord said to Jeremiah the
Prophet, "Arise, and go down to the potter's house, and there I will
cause thee to hear my words. Then I went down to the potter's house,
and, behold, he wrought a work on the wheels. And the vessel that he
made of clay was marred in the hands of the potter: so he made it
again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it." The
clay that marred in the potter's hands was thrown back into the
unprepared portion, to be prepared over again. So it will be with
every wicked man and woman, and every wicked nation, kingdom, and
government upon earth, sooner or later; they will be thrown back to
the native element from which they originated, to be worked over
again, and be prepared to enjoy some sort of a kingdom.
Then where will be their glory—their lands—their silver and gold—their
precious diamonds and jewels—and all their fine pictures, and precious
ornaments? In the hands of the Saints. Will the wicked inherit them?
No; they will be disinherited.
I do not wonder at the ancients marveling at the wickedness and
unbelief of the people. I do not wonder at the words of the Savior,
which will apply to the people generally as well now as then, when he
said, "O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets
have spoken." This generation are seeking eagerly after that which
will perish in their hands; they are madly rushing forward, hazarding
their eternal all, to secure transitory possessions, which, when they
think they have obtained them, are not fully satisfactory; they have
grasped at the walls of an airy phantom, and sacrificed an enduring
substance. How foolish, in the eyes of the truly intelligent, the
pursuits of the wicked appear. They set their hearts' affections upon
that which is not durable, seeking happiness where misery and all its
attendant effects are sure to be realized. Jesus said to his
disciples, when he was about to leave them, "These things I have
spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall
have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world."
Who wishes to overvalue earthly things as they are now constituted?
They are made to be changed, they are subject to decay. But the earth
will not be utterly destroyed; the elements of which it is composed
will not be annihilated, but they will be changed. Neither shall those
be consumed who can abide the day of the Lord Almighty, and stand in
His presence. The earth in that great day will be renovated—cleansed
from wickedness—purified from dross, sanctified, and prepared for the
habitation of the Saints of the Most High.
On the other hand, the wicked shall be consumed with the Spirit of His
mouth, and destroyed by the brightness of his coming. The gold, the
silver, the precious stones, and all that is desirable to beautify the
heaven of the Saints, will be made pure, and fit for them to handle.
It is the misapplied intelligence God has given us that makes all the
mischief on the earth. That intelligence He de signed to carry
out the purposes of His will, and endowed it with capabilities to
grow, spread abroad, accumulate, and endeavor to enjoy greater
happiness, glory, and honor, and continue to expand wider and wider,
until eternity is comprehended by it; if not applied to this purpose,
but to the groveling things of earth, it will be taken away, and
given to one who has made better use of this gift of God.
I say again—"Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his
righteousness," and in due time, no matter when, whether in this year
or in the next, in this life or in the life to come, "all these
things" (that appear so necessary to have in the world) "shall be
added unto you." Everything that is in heaven, on the earth, and in
the earth, everything the most fruitful mind can imagine, shall be
yours, sooner or later. I wish you would square your lives according
to what has been said to you today, especially while I am gone.
I wish to say to all the brethren, young men, and boys, while I am
gone from your midst for a season, let your conduct and conversation
be such as becometh your profession in all things. I hope I shall not
hear of drunkenness, confusion, and quarrelling when I return. I am
never afraid of it when I am here, for I can manage such characters so
completely that they do not think it worthwhile to begin. While I am
gone, behave yourselves. I will preach to you the same sermon I
preached to the missionaries a week ago, viz., "Walk uprightly." When
I return, and find you have done this, all will be well; if you have
violated this counsel, you may expect to be chastised. Let it be said
when I return, "All is right; all has been peace; and good order has
prevailed in your absence."
I wish to say a few words about some men and families in this city,
called Gladdenites. We have been pretty severe upon them, but nowhere,
except in the pulpit, to my knowledge. I counsel my brethren to keep
away from their houses; let them alone, and treat them as courteously
as you would any other person. Do you enquire whether I have any
grounds for giving this advice? I answer, I have. For there are few men
in this congregation who know when to stop, should they find
themselves engaged in a contest with one of that class of people,
therefore let them alone entirely. Those individuals are disagreeable
to me, and so are their doctrines. The man they hold up is so low and
degraded in his spirit, feelings, and life, I have not patience to
hear anything said about him. I have known him too long, and too well,
not to be satisfied of the wickedness of his heart.
You say you wish to do right, and please the Lord in all your actions;
but were I to adopt an evil practice, the greater portion of this
community would follow it. Why not follow me then in doing right?
Righteousness, in whomsoever found, will never lead you astray; while
wickedness will lead you to ruin. No man possessing the Spirit of the
Lord, can for a moment believe Gladden Bishop's writings. If it were
possible, his system is more foolish than the exhibition of free
masonry I have referred to.
I wish this community to understand, that what has been said here
touching those men and their views, has been with no other design than
to cause them to use their tongues as they ought, and cease abusing me
and this people. Some of them visited me yesterday, and wished to know
if it was safe for them to stay here. I told them they were as safe as
I was, if they did not undertake to make us swallow, whether or not,
something we are not willing to take. "We have been driven, and
re-driven," said I, "and if corrupt people stay in our midst,
they have got to use their tongues properly." They promised they
would, if they might stay.
If they wish to live here in peace, I am willing they should, but I do
not wish them to stir up strife. I never expected that this community
would be composed entirely of Latter-day Saints, but I expected there
would be goats mixed among the sheep, until they are separated. I do
not look for anything else, but I wish them to behave themselves in
their sphere, also the sheep; and let the goats associate with their
goatish companions, and not endeavor to disturb the equanimity of the
sheep in their pasture.
This comparison will apply to this people, and those men. If they wish
to labor, and obtain a living, they are welcome to do so; but they are
not at liberty to disturb the peace of their neighbors in any way;
neither let this people disturb them, but grant them every privilege
claimed by, and belonging to, American citizens. Let them meet
together and pray if they please; this is their own business. Let them
do as some did in a camp meeting in York State—One man met another and
said, "How do you do? How are they getting along on the campground?"
"Why they are serving God like the very devil," was the reply. And the
Gladdenites may serve God like the devil, if they will keep out of my
way, and out of the way of this people.
The men who visited me yesterday, stated that they believed Joseph was
a true Prophet, and that they were full-blooded "Mormons;" indeed they
seemed to have in them an extra charge of "Mormon" blood. I asked one
of them if he had any confidence in the endowment. He confessed he had
no faith in it. I then asked him if he did not believe that Joseph
Smith was a fallen Prophet. His reply was, "I rather think he is."
When a man throws a stone at me, and with it dashes his own brains
out, I have nothing to say. He called himself a full-blooded "Mormon,"
and almost in the same breath declared Joseph was a fallen Prophet,
and that he had no confidence in the endowment. How is it in reality
with those men? Why they have not a particle of faith either in Joseph
Smith, or in the Book of Mormon. I told one of them, who professed to
be so honest, that he wanted the Lord to come down from heaven that
moment and judge him, that five years would not pass away before he
would be cursing, and swearing, and proclaiming blasphemously against
every good principle in heaven and on earth.
They do not know what they believe, neither do they know what they
have received. They think they know all about it. They think they know
that you are out of the right way, and that they are walking in it.
When they say this people are going to be destroyed by the judgments
of God, it is to me like the crackling of thorns under the pot. Pass
along, and mind your own business, is a fit reply to their
There has never been a Church of God on the earth without such
characters. According to their outward appearance, they are as good
men and women as you might think could possibly be. You might say with
safety, "They are truly Saints," if you were to judge by the
appearance of the outside of the platter. But what does Jesus Christ
say? "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into
the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which
is in heaven." Again? "For whosoever shall do the will of my Father
which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother."
He that doeth the will of God, is His disciple. You may say Joseph was
a devil, if you like, but he is at home, and still holds the
keys of the kingdom, which were committed to him by heavenly
messengers, and always will. Do you ask who brother Brigham is? He is
an humble instrument in the hands of God, to keep His people in the
path which He has marked out through the instrumentality of His
servant Joseph; and to travel in which is all I ask of them. I said
some time since on this stand, if I was not a Prophet, I certainly had
been profitable to this people. I know I have, by the blessing of the
Lord, been successful in profiting them. The Lord has done it through
There is a man named Martin Harris, and he is the one who gave the
holy roll to Gladden. When Martin was with Joseph Smith, he was
continually trying to make the people believe that he (Joseph) was the
Shepherd, the Stone of Israel. I have heard Joseph chastise him
severely for it, and he told me that such a course, if persisted in,
would destroy the kingdom of God. Who else ever said that Joseph Smith
was anything but an unlearned son of a backwoodsman; who had all his
lifetime, ever since he could handle an ax, helped his father to
support his little family by cutting wood?
Thus the Lord found him, and called him to be a Prophet, and made him
a successful instrument in laying the foundation of His kingdom for
the last time. This people never professed that Joseph Smith was
anything more than a Prophet given to them of the Lord; and to whom
the Lord gave the keys of this last dispensation, which were not to be
taken from him in time, neither will they be in eternity.
I wish to see this people fulfil in every particular what Joseph told
them to do, and build up the kingdom of God, and this they are doing.
I give them praise today, for they are a God-blessed people. Which of
these Elders that are sitting round me, if they were asked to go on a
mission for five, ten, or twenty years, would not rise up and say, "I
am ready," notwithstanding all their weaknesses and foolishness?
Ask an apostate to go and preach salvation to a perishing world, and
his reply would be, "I cannot go, I am too poor." They are a perfect
abomination among men. Did they ever build up the kingdom of God in
any way? Never. They have done nothing but apostatize, and they will
now continually try to destroy the work of God with all their might.
This is all they ever did do, and it is all they ever will do. There
is not a faithful Elder here who would not, if called upon, readily go
forth to preach the Gospel in distant countries, though he had not a
shoe to his feet, or a coat to his back. Would an apostate do it? No,
they cannot do anything without money! money! money! which is their
god. The faithful children of God will be faithful in preaching the
Gospel, in building up the cause of their God, and in carrying
salvation to thousands and millions of the fallen race of Adam, which
we have done.
I wonder what apostate would do as we did when we went to England? I
was better off than many of my brethren, for I had three shillings to
pay my expenses to Preston. On we went to that town, and held our
Conference, and from thence we started out every way, preaching the
Gospel in the regions round about.
Allow me the privilege of boasting, though it is not me but the Lord
that has done it. We sustained ourselves, and assisted the poor to a
very large amount, and only stayed in England one year and sixteen
days. This means was gathered up by faith, and we baptized over seven
thousand people, gave away about sixty thousand tracts, for which I
paid the money, and sent Elders out to preach in every direction. Would an apostate do this? No. But they wish to sour,
corrupt, and desecrate with apostasy every Saint they come in contact
with. It is not in them to do any good to the cause of truth; but out
of the evil they design the Lord will bring good.
This people commenced with nothing. Joseph Smith, the honored
instrument in the hands of God to lay the foundation of this work,
commenced with nothing; he had neither the wisdom nor the riches of
this world. And it is proven to our satisfaction, that when rich men
have come into this Church, the Lord has been determined to take their
riches from them and make them poor; that all His Saints may learn to
obtain that which they possess by faith.
How many times has He made us poor? Thousands of dollars worth of
property in houses and lands, which the Lord gave me, are now in the
East, in the hands of our enemies. I never said they were mine, they
were the Lord's, and I was one of His stewards. When I went to
Kirtland, I had not a coat in the world, for previous to this I had
given away everything I possessed, that I might be free to go forth
and proclaim the plan of salvation to the inhabitants of the earth.
Neither had I a shoe to my feet, and I had to borrow a pair of pants
and a pair of boots. I stayed there five years, and accumulated five
thousand dollars. How do you think I accomplished this? Why, the Lord
Almighty gave me those means. I have often had that done for me that
has caused me to marvel. I know, as well as I know I am standing
before you today, that I have had money put into my trunk and into my
pocket without the instrumentality of any man. This I know to a
certainty. Ask an apostate, if they can, in truth, bear testimony to
such a thing. They cannot do it. Enough about that.
Again, I say if "Mormonism" is not all I anticipated it to be, it is
nothing. If it is not in me, and I in it, if it is not all and in all
to me, I am deceived in myself. It is everything in heaven and on
earth to those who possess it truly; but lose this, and, as I told you
the other day, what remains will dwindle, perish, decay, decompose,
and be reduced to its native element, or, in other words, be thrown
into the mill to be ground over.
The Lord Almighty will not let anything endure that offers hospitality
to the devil and his imps. Those who suffer their bodies to be
dwellings for evil spirits, must suffer loss, for devils cannot
construct a house that will in any way answer their purpose; neither
have they been able to do so in all the eternities there are; that is
the very thing which causes us trouble continually; for they are
trying all the time to get into our dwellings, because they have none
of their own. Did you ever desire to take possession of another
person's tabernacle, and leave your own? No rational person owning a
tabernacle would wish to do so. The devils have no tabernacles, which
is the reason of their wanting to possess human bodies. If any of you
have suffered any of these houseless spirits to enter you, turn them
out, and they will perhaps seek refuge in the body of an ox, or some
other animal, or maybe go into Jordan.
Do you think the legion we read of, that entered the swine, in the
days of Christ, had bodies of their own? No; they have no
meetinghouses but in ballrooms, gaming houses, brothels, gin palaces,
parlors, bedrooms, and other places which they frequent in the bodies
of those they lead captive; otherwise they are wandering to and fro in
the earth, seeking to possess tabernacles that other spirits, not of
their order, already occupy. They are in our midst watching for an
opportunity to enter where they may. What will be the doom of those
who give way to them, and yield to them the possession of
their tabernacles? They will wander to and fro, happiness will be hid
from them, they will weep, and wail, and suffer, until their bodies
return to their mother earth, and their spirits to judgment.
Brethren and sisters, you are on the right track; be virtuous, humble,
thankful, generous, and true to your God, and to each other, loving
Him more than all things else, and making His Law your delight day and
night. If I did not love the Lord enough to leave houses, lands,
father, mother, wives, and children, and even be ready to lay down my
life freely for the kingdom of God's sake, I should not consider I was
worthy of it. Were I to forsake all for it, I should lose nothing; for
the man who honors and serves God cannot suffer loss.
The very laws which govern eternity are planned to sustain an eternal
growth, gathering together and increasing; so that the true servant of
God cannot possibly suffer loss, but will reap eternal gain, though
he, for the cause of truth, is poor and needy through the whole of
this short life. He has made truth his theme; and what is it? I will
say it is that which endures; it is eternity, and its power is to
grow, increase, and expand, adding life to life, and power to power,
worlds without end.
May God bless you. Amen.