I feel to rejoice this morning in the remarks that I have heard, and I
feel to bear testimony to the same, and also to all the instructions
given during this Conference.
I feel that it is good to be here, and I can say that I have tried to
appreciate the blessings we enjoy in common with my brethren. It is
indeed a privilege to rise before an assembly of Saints in the Valleys
of the Mountains, before those that are now so comfortably and
favorably located in this place; and while brother George A. Smith was
speaking upon the "Word of Wisdom," there was a dream occurred to my
mind that I heard related by one of the brethren a short time ago. He
said there was a proclamation issued by the President of the Church of
Jesus Christ, for the Elders of Israel to collect those together who
had kept the commandments of God, for there was a work that the Lord
had for them to perform. The people came together very slowly and
reluctantly; once in a while a few would come along, but a leader oft
was wanted, and perhaps an Elder would be seen coming up, but it
seemed to be slow work collecting the people together. After a while
there was another proclamation issued for the people to come together
in masses, those that were true, and that were known to be trying to
keep the commandments of God, and they then came up by thousands, by
tens of thousands, and by hundreds of thousands. I felt that
it was so this morning, that those that had been speaking had touched
the right subject, and it was very good; and I felt that there would
be very few in this vast congregation (if they were called out), who
had kept the "Word of Wisdom;" if all such were called for, I am
persuaded that there would be very few that would come forth, but if
the word were, "Come forth, all ye Latter-day Saints that are trying
to keep the Word of Wisdom," I feel that there would be many that
would come forth, and I believe I would be among that number that
would be found trying to keep the Word of Wisdom.
When we first heard the revelation upon the Word of Wisdom many of us
thought it consisted merely in our drinking tea and coffee, but it is
not only using tea and coffee and our tobacco and whiskey, but it is
every other evil which is calculated to contaminate this people. The
Word of Wisdom implies to cease from adultery, to cease from all
manner of excesses, and from all kinds of wickedness and abomination
that are common amongst this generation—it is, strictly speaking,
keeping the commandments of God, and living by every word that
proceedeth from His mouth.
This is the way that I understand the Word of Wisdom, consequently we
have to keep all the commandments, if I understand the matter
correctly, in connection with this Word of Wisdom, in order to obtain
the blessings, for unless we do keep the commandments of God, and not
offend in any one point, we have not a full claim upon the blessings
promised in connection with this portion of the word of the Lord.
The Lord says, in reference to these things mentioned in the Word of
Wisdom, that they are not good for the body! I know that my brethren
and sisters feel as I do, they have a desire to keep the Word of
Wisdom, and know it is the wish of the Presidency that the Elders of
Israel should preach upon the Word of Wisdom, and establish it in the
minds of the people, and suffer not themselves from desire to be
overcome by the habits of those among whom they travel to preach the
Gospel, but be an example in all things.
I can say one thing which I am very thankful for, I never partook of
an evil in my life because my brethren did, but I have always tried to
act and live upon my own agency. If I have sinned, it has been through
my own ignorance; if I go astray, it is because my mind and my nature
I have ever felt determined to take a course to enjoy the Spirit of
the Lord, and when He has left me to myself, and I have been tempted,
I have always trusted in the Lord and endeavored to obey Him, and not
to give way to the tempter; and I want this feeling to sink deep into
the hearts of every man and woman calling themselves Latter-day
Saints. And when I hear a word dropped by anyone that will tend to
thwart the design of God's holy word, why then I feel most indignant.
I wish to see men observe and teach the Word of Wisdom in their
families, for to see men throw a bad influence upon the word of the
Lord, I was going to say such a spirit is a stink in the nostrils of
all righteous men.
Many of the Saints excuse themselves for chewing tobacco because
others use it, but let us examine ourselves this morning, and see if
such a course will be justifiable before our heavenly Father.
Where is the man that excuses himself on this account? I ask him—is it
righteousness for him to excuse himself in order to free himself from
blame? If it is not, let him repent, cease his excusations, and turn
unto the Lord his God, and work righteousness all the days of
his life, that he may be saved in the kingdom of heaven.
You know it as an old Methodist doctrine, that every tub has to stand
upon its own bottom, and we will find that it is so before we get
through; yet we will find, brethren and sisters, that it is for every
man and woman to take a course to save themselves individually, obey
counsel, observe all the revelations of Jesus Christ that shall be
given to us as a people in this present age, whether by the dreams of
the night, the visions of the day, or the revelations of God's Holy
Spirit, and to follow after righteousness, pursue the course marked
out for the people of God, and then all will be well with us in this
life, and also in that which is to come.
I feel to rejoice, and I thank my heavenly Father that we have escaped
thus far the contaminating influences of the Gentiles, and I always do
rejoice that our lives are prolonged upon the earth. I never attended a
Conference in my life but I felt thankful to God that I had fellowship
and a standing in the midst of this mighty people, and that I had some
confidence before them and also the God whom we serve.
We are indeed a blessed people, prosperity attends us as a community,
the wicked and even the very devils are prophesying the prosperity of
this people, to say nothing about the predictions of the Latter-day
Saints themselves. The great and influential amongst the nations are
all the time speaking of the success and prosperity that attend this
people, and their telling this is what stirs up the devil.
We are going to build a temple, we are now laying the foundation, and
when it is completed we expect to receive our blessings, and do you
think the devil knows this? Yes, he knows all about it, and he stirs
up the wicked, and why does he do this? To hinder the people of God
from obtaining the blessings they desire. (It then began to rain, and
brother Benson remarked), Well, I can stand the rain if you can.
Brethren and sisters, we are neither sugar nor salt, although we are a
little of both. Give us your attention for a few moments, and we will
dismiss till two o'clock.
May the Lord bless you, that your hearts may be comforted, and that
you may listen to all the instructions that you have heard during this
Conference; this is my determination. May God bless you through Christ
our Redeemer. Amen.
- Ezra T. Benson