Brethren and Friends—This, the Southwest Corner Stone of this Temple,
in Salt Lake Valley, and Utah Territory, has been laid by the Aaronic
Priesthood, which is in connection with the Melchizedek Priesthood
forever—to connect those two Priesthoods to the building up of the
kingdom of the last days, and exalt mankind on the earth, and in the
presence of God, and prepare for the coming of Christ our Redeemer.
The past, the present, and the future—our history, our destiny, recur with redoubled force upon our minds, upon occasions like this.
In honor to the great God we are here assembled. To the Valleys of the
mountains we have been led by His Almighty power and watchful
guidance. We have been delivered from our enemies, from our
oppressors, by His unerring wisdom, and surpassing kindness.
Never before could the Saints look around, and behold so glorious, so
prosperous a prospect before them, for the accomplishment of the
enterprise which we this day commence. Although peace may temporarily
have smiled around, yet it was like the lone traveler, struggling to
make his way through the scarcely incrustated lava, yet warm, amid the
craters of the momentarily extinct volcano, which has only ceased to
pour forth its liquid fire, to gather renewed and increased energy,
and again send forth its lurid flame, molten fury, and devastation, to
all around. Thus has it ever been with this people—in the midst of
enemies have they struggled to build up cities, wherein they might
inhabit; erect temples unto the name of the God whom they serve,
wherein to worship, and receive their holy anointings and endowments.
But no sooner have they commenced, than have also commenced the
howlings of the myrmidons of Satan's kingdom, crying, as they did
before Pilate, when they murdered the Savior of the world, "Away with
him! away with him! crucify him! crucify him!" And they have poured
out their wrath—they have murdered the Saints, driven them from city
to city, from land to land, dispossessed them of their inheritances,
destroyed their cities, their temples and slain their Prophets.
As it was in the days of our Savior and his Apostles, so has it been
in our day. They have used every stratagem, every exertion to destroy
the Priesthood from the face of the earth. They were successful
then— will they be so now? Will the authority of the holy and eternal
Priesthood of Almighty God, again be driven from the face of the
earth, the Prophets and Apostles all slain, and none left in
possession of the living oracles of divine truth? No! No!! The might
of Jehovah will preserve us. The Lord God will sustain us, and if so
be, we should be scattered as hitherto, He will gather us in greater
power, greater numbers, with increased ability to perform His work
upon the earth.
Let all people, sinners, mobocrats, and devils, learn from experience
that persecution, plunder, robbery, rapine, murder, and expulsion from
home and country, will not win. They have effectually tried this plan,
and it has as effectually failed every time. Please take notice! And
devise some new scheme the next time, wherein you can feel some
assurance, that you may possibly succeed, and we have the pleasure of
not being plundered, murdered, and disfranchised in the same old way.
Tax your inventive genius for some broader scheme to destroy God's
people from the face of the earth.
Suppose you try the suggestion of our much esteemed, though distant,
learned, very polite, and unsolicited chronicler, Lieutenant Gunnison,
"of letting us alone severely." But I will not make suggestions for
you, having great confidence in your ability of changing your mode of
operation. When your plans become so futile, weak, and unavailing, as
to become stale and uninteresting, I may suggest for you. In the
meantime, let the Saints remember the promise President Young made
them, upon the occasion of his breaking the ground for this temple,
on the 14th of February last—"Not one of them, who had not been
through the fiery ordeal, should lose the privilege, if he continued
faithful; he shall not be a whit be hind the most exquisite
infliction of torture that any of the Saints have had to endure." If
you are faithful, you shall have the promised blessing pertaining to
those characters who became partakers of the sufferings of our Lord
and Savior Jesus Christ.
When we look around us, what do we behold? We see the most
unmistakable tokens of prosperity, peace, and plenty; the self-evident
fruits of high heaven's protecting care, industry, sobriety, and
faith. What else do we behold? Wickedness—the hydra-headed monster,
apostasy, dares to lift his head; thieves dare to prowl in our midst.
It seems, that no sooner can the Lord pour out His blessings upon His
people, and Zion be favored for a season, than it becomes occasion for
some to kick and flounder, turning their heel against that beneficent
power unto whom they owe their being, their existences—who has fed
them, and nurtured them, and led them, like as He did the Saints of
old, all the day long.
What becomes the duty of the Saints under such circumstances? Do you
realize that upon yourselves, in a great measure, depends your future
prosperity, the prosperity of Zion's cause, the extension and
advancement of the cause of truth in the world? Do you consider that
it is your duty to purify and sanctify your hearts before God, to put
evil far from you, to resist the allurements, temptations, and devices
of Satan, and thus panoplied in the bright armor of integrity, truth,
and righteousness, with pure hearts, and clean hands, and arising in
the strength, might, and majesty of the great Jehovah, put down
iniquity, yea, with an eagle eye, ferret it out, and with a strong
arm, hush in eternal silence every ingrate spirit, who profanes, with
his unholy presence, the most holy place; who tramples under his feet,
as a thing of naught, those covenants, those most solemn obligations,
which he has freely made? So shall Israel put away iniquity from their
midst, and obtain and retain the favor of the Lord of Hosts.
Do you remember the history of the Gadiantons, as told in the Book of
Mormon? We are surrounded by their descendants. Those loathsome,
effeminate specimens of humanity, which we daily see in our midst, are
their children, low, degraded, sunken to the lowest depths of human
existence. We have our location amid their strongholds, where the
ruins of their cities, towns, and fortifications are yet to be
seen—they continue unto this day. Shall we, the Saints of the Most
High God, who have been the special recipients of the oracles of life
and salvation, to this generation, to all generations to come, to even
those who have preceded us—shall we, through supineness and neglect,
permit a foundation to be laid in our midst, for the ultimate triumph
of wickedness, apostasy, and every abomination which maketh desolate?
I tell you, if we do, we need go no farther in the progress of this
work, for we shall most probably share the fate of those Gadiantons
and their children. Better, far better, would it be for us to stop,
and, in the first place, sweep from our midst and from our borders,
every vestige of unmitigated wickedness and sin. If we do not put it
down, it will put us down. If we do not, when we have the privilege,
the opportunity, magnify our calling, fulfil our covenants, the Lord
our God will withdraw His Spirit from our midst, as being unworthy
and negligent servants.
I am aware that the devil raves and grows angry when the Saints
prepare to build a temple. I am aware that he rummages every nook and
corner, to gain the ascendant, seduce away, stir up strife,
contention, and hin der the progress of the work; he seeks to
lull into a false security, the vigilance of the Saints; to cool their
ardor, check their efforts, and render them fruitless; to cause them
to neglect their duties, grow lukewarm and indifferent towards the
cause of God.
Brethren, let me exhort you against these allurements, against this
apathy—it will never do, it does not become the Latter-day Saints,
whose work rolls upon them as fast as they are able to accomplish it.
The Saints pray their Father in heaven to hasten His work, and roll it
forth with mighty power.
Do you not know that the heavens are ready to drop with blessings in
store for the faithful Saints, if they were ready and able to receive
them? The Almighty God is ready to establish His kingdom upon the
earth, in power and majesty, if His people were ready to receive, were
prepared to administer therein in holiness, purity, and wisdom.
But are this people ready? No! they are not—their work is
preparatory, and I am happy in believing that their progress is
onward, that they are advancing toward that unity, faith, and
perfection, those good works and Godlike attainments, which shall
witness unto the Lord our God, that they are rapidly approximating
towards that eventful period, when the Son of Man will appear in his
temple, to cheer the hearts of his people.
The heavens are propitious, and if we do right, the Lord our God will
be our friend, bless and prosper us in our endeavors to bring to pass
this our preparatory work. We will build a temple unto the name of the
mighty God of Jacob, here in the wilderness of deserts, amid the
forest of mountains, upon the foundation which we this day consecrate
unto the Lord of Hosts. We will rear a superstructure wherein we can
receive the ministrations of angels and holy beings; wherein we can
receive instructions, and perform offices for the redemption of our
dead, receive keys for the resurrection of the Saints of God, wherein
we can meet the spirits of just men made perfect, and again strike
hands with the martyred Prophets, Joseph and Hyrum, and all those who
have suffered and died for the testimony of Jesus.
We are far more commodiously situated, far better prepared for this
work, than ever before, as a people. We have a house wherein we can
hold our Councils, a tabernacle wherein to worship, storehouses to
contain the tithing of the people, and shops, and machinery in full
The wall around the Temple Block will soon secure those grounds from
intrusion. We are comparatively free from debt, everything seems
favorable for the rapid progress of this work.
Brethren, it depends upon your efforts, your liberality, your
faithfulness, whether its progress be slow or fast. We are now ready
to bid the Saints "come lend us your aid—bring up to the Tithing House
of the Lord, your tithings and your consecrations; pay up what you
owe, that our hands may be untied, and freed from our remaining
indebtedness; that the hearts of the public workmen may rejoice in the
blessings and comforts of life." Let your liberality be known by your
works, and remember that it is your own work you are called upon to
perform, and one in which you have the deepest and most abiding
Bring forth the materials for building—stone, lime, and sand; lumber
and timber; the pine, the fir, and the cedar; the iron and steel; the
silver, gold, and precious stones; to ornament, make beautiful and
glorious the place of His presence, whose excellence surpasses the
understanding of the children of men. Amen.