My brethren and sisters—By the changes which mark the history of our
journey through life, I again have the privilege of meeting with you.
With many of you, no doubt, I have had the same privilege before, and,
for aught I know, this may be the first time I have met with others
who are present today; whether I have met with you before or not, it
is a source of gratification to me that we are here.
I am not here because I have fulfilled my mission, or because I have
laid down the labor of my mission as having completed it; but I am
simply here this afternoon because I have a mission, one that has
engaged my time, filled up my time, and engaged all my powers; it is
only in the discharge of the duties of that mission that I am here.
Though some may have thought that because I have been laboring in
California for a few years, the labors of my mission are confined to
California, but I do not so understand it; these are not the feelings
that I cherish within me in relation to it. I never have felt, because
I was appointed to labor for a time for the accomplishment of certain
purposes in the State of California, that I was released from the
obligations that rested upon me as a minister of righteousness every
day, in every place, and under all circumstances.
I received a mission over twenty years ago to preach the Gospel, and
have been engaged in it ever since; it has filled up the hours, days,
weeks, months, and years of my life since I received it. It has
enlisted my whole affections for that length of time, and I have only
just commenced—I say I have just commenced because I have not
completed it, and the extent of time that may be occupied in its
completion I do not comprehend.
The only fact I fully comprehend in relation to it is that I have
begun it—I have received it—entered upon the duties of it—and in the
prosecution of it so far, I have done all I have done; I have
traveled where I have traveled; I have labored as I have labored. It
is in the discharge of the duties of this mission I leave Salt Lake,
and in the discharge of the duties of it that I return. It is in the
discharge of these duties that I do all that I do, so far as I am able
to act, as I would wish to act, and as I design to act.
I may this evening address people with whom I have held conversation
in relation to principles of the Gospel long years ago; and others,
as I have remarked, perhaps see me for the first time, yet to both of
these classes of persons I have but one thing to say, namely, that it
is still my business to preach the Gospel. I have nothing else to
preach. I know nothing else to preach. It is the subject that has
engaged my attention, and still does engage it.
With the years of experience that have added the contributions to the
store of knowledge, I have been able to gain in the short time I have
lived in the world, the subject seems to increase in its
dimensions and in its extent. That which I thought I knew when I was
but a boy—that I thought I understood—that I supposed in the vanity
and ignorance of childhood I comprehended—I find in the mature years
of manhood that I knew nothing about it, so far as the comprehension
of the great truths of the Gospel, in their extent, are concerned.
I learned that there was a Gospel, and became satisfied of its truth;
and I commenced to labor in the Gospel as did those who taught me its
principles, and from whose lips I first heard the testimony thereof;
the first man I ever heard preach it is here with me today—brother
The Gospel is connected with everything I can think about. It is
expanded to such an extent that I cannot see beyond it; I cannot rise
above it, nor descend beneath it. There are no depths it does not
reach; no heights it does not surmount; no extent which is not filled
by it. So let me talk to you what I will, that is true, and calculated
to do good to mankind, it must of necessity form a part of the Gospel.
I used to think twenty years ago that I had preached it over and over
again; so I confess one thing to you, not as a sin—not as a wrong,
that when I was a child I thought as a child, I believed the Gospel as
a child, I speculated about it as a child, and I talked about it as a
child would; but since I became a man I have learned different things;
I have learned that there is a vast difference between receiving and
endorsing a belief in the existence of a fact, and the full and
perfect comprehension of it.
This was the relation in which I stood to the Gospel in the days of my
childhood, it is the relation in which I stand to it, in a great
extent, today. It is no more a fact today than it was a score of
years ago—that I comprehend the Gospel only in part. That I com prehend
it fully now, I would not be so understood. I comprehend something of
it; all the truth that I am able to comprehend is so much of it.
Now, is this the case with anybody besides myself? I have reason to
think that if I have the Gospel to learn, others have it to learn, and
that if a comprehension of the truth is requisite to my salvation it
is to theirs. Then the important thing in relation to the Gospel is,
that we should receive it in its true spirit, that we should duly
appreciate the object of its institution, the reasons why it is
revealed to us, and the necessity that called for its revelation. This
will enlighten us as to the principle upon which we will be really
saved, when we are saved.
If, after all, we do not comprehend the Gospel in its fulness, and in
its widest extent, we may perhaps fall as far short of what may be
called—according to our way of understanding—a perfect salvation, as
we may lack understanding to comprehend the Gospel in its fulness.
The Gospel as I receive it, believe it, learned to be true, to be a
system of truth, that circumscribes all things; that embraces all the
good that exists, is a something that is designed to produce for the
children of men such things as are requisite to their happiness; to
their deliverance from the bondage of sin; from the bondage of error,
ignorance, and darkness; or from ignorance, by whatever name it may be
called, or whatever may be the particular agency by which it may exert
its influence over the freedom of the soul.
This review of the matter has led me to conclude that it is not the
heathen nations alone—as we denominate them in contradistinction to
the Christian world—that are groveling in darkness, that are
worshiping they know not what, and that are seeing they know not what,
but that it is actually the case with thousands who have subscribed to the doctrine God has revealed in the last days, even
the Gospel as a system of truth and salvation. Yet in looking forward
to that emancipation from darkness, from error, and from all the
concomitant train of consequences resulting from an ignorance of
truth, they have failed to recognize, in examining the subject, that
the comprehension of truth was actually necessary to constitute the
salvation they sought for.
We have looked for heaven, or happiness, in a deliverance from every
thing that is in reality a cause of annoyance to us; of sorrow,
misery, and wretchedness. From this we expect to be saved, from it we
expect the Gospel will redeem us.
Well now, how do we expect to arrive at so desirable a consummation of
our wishes? How do we expect to gain the point where we shall realize
a full and perfect deliverance from the evils that afflict us—with
which we are surrounded in life—and from which we expect to be saved,
when the Gospel has wrought out for us all we anticipate, shall have
brought to us the realization of our highest hopes, and loftiest
expectations? What then shall have been done with us? Where shall we
be? What kind of men and women will we be? What country or locality of
the great universe shall we occupy? Where can the bread of life be
found, and the water of the fountain of life, from which we may fain
quench our thirst?
One might calculate that all the good we expect to realize when we are
saved, will be obtained, by doing, in all things, as we are told to
do, by fulfilling every requisition that is imposed upon us, and
thereby securing the fullness of this salvation.
What does this obedience lead people to? It leads them to go where
they are required to go, and to stay where they may be required to
stay; in fine, it leads them to perform every labor that is required
at their hands in the building up of the kingdom of God, and the
establishing of Zion, or the cause of truth on the earth. In the
pursuance of this, what do we find? We find men crossing the desert,
and the ocean, of their own free will; passing through all the
contingencies of a journey of that kind; passing through privations,
hardships, dangers, and evils that may hang around their path, because
they have been commanded to do so. We see some fall off who have spent
a score of years in traveling, preaching, laboring, toiling, and
striving to gain salvation by being obedient to the requisitions that
were laid upon them; they have gone, when, and where they were sent,
and have come back when called for; they have made it their business
to respond to the calls that were made, regardless of what they might
After a while we find those men who have traveled long and far, and
suffered much; and what do they tell us? "Why, we have tried Mormonism
for twenty years," and now what conclusion do they come to? To the
conclusion, that is sometimes vulgarly expressed in this way—"We have
not found Mormonism what it is cracked up to be—it has been
misrepresented to us." This is simply because they have not realized
all their expectations, and hopes, and have not been able to grasp the
reward they were seeking after, and which they regarded as
constituting the elements of happiness. So now, after twenty year's
hard service, they are ready, as we say, to apostatize and go
somewhere else to seek happiness, and leave "Mormonism" to go as it
may go, to sink or swim.
If toiling, and laboring, and suffering privations and hardships were
sufficient to save men, and place within their possession the
constituent prin ciples of happiness to redeem them from evil,
such men would have been redeemed very likely; such men would have
been pure. But what does it prove? It simply proves, that if there is
anything in a man's experience, in his toiling and labor, it is simply
the facts that we see, the outward result that may be calculated, that
flows from his labors, such as the building of houses, and cities.
He may suffer toil in various ways: for instance, as in preaching the
Gospel and trying with all his might to get the people to believe that
which they ought to believe; to get them to serve God, and keep His
commandments. If there is anything but this results from his labor and
toil in the Gospel I am not aware of it. By and by he lays his body
down in the dust, his work is not completed, and he is unhappy and
Why is it? Is it because the Gospel is untrue; because He is not
faithful that has promised? No. But it is simply because he has been
looking where it is not, for the constituent principles of happiness
where they do not exist: and while he has been laboring and toiling he
has failed to gather to himself a store of happiness as the reward of
his toil. He supposed if he built this house, performed this mission,
or discharged that duty, that this would give him salvation. Says one,
"Is it not this which gives men salvation?" What does the Savior say?
He once on a time defined what eternal life is; and that is what we
all seek; that is the principle without which we as Latter-day Saints
calculate that men cannot be happy, and be saved in the kingdom of
God, which is to know the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom He has sent.
Then traveling by sea and land, living in luxury or poverty, suffering
hardships and toil does not constitute eternal life; because there are
countless millions of earth's sons that are seen today, suffering and
toiling, and wasting themselves away, wearing themselves out, so far
as their bodies are concerned, until they lay down in their mother
earth, being as poor at the end of their toil as at the beginning of
it, and as a general thing, more wretched.
Then there is something else that should be connected with all this
labor; there is some other principle, something that should be
developed in the history of every individual, besides the making of a
house, the exploring of a new country, the preaching the word of God
to others, that word which would save them, and direct them to the
fountain of life and salvation. And what is that something? It is the
important thing which we all want; whether it is large or small,
little or much; whatever may be its name is a matter of no importance
to us, only, so we possess it.
There should be developed that which will give life and assurance in
the bosom of man, the thing that can constitute him happy; that can be
a means of bliss to him. This cannot be found, as I have said, in
building houses; there are millions of men that build houses and never
know the truth, they never comprehend it; they began poor, and die
poor, so far as this principle is concerned.
So it was with the Pharisees, after all the pains Jesus Christ had
taken to instruct and teach them, and render his teachings so
perfectly simple, that a person with but a child's capacity could have
understood them; when he was demanded of them when the kingdom of God
should come, he answered them and said, "The kingdom of God cometh not
with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for,
behold, the kingdom of God is within you."
We as Latter-day Saints have heard a great deal said to entertain us,
and a great many speculations have been formed in our minds
with regard to the kingdom of God, and we may have pursued our various
ways to impart our ideas to satisfy those to whom we may have
addressed our conversation, in the course of our lives, and in the
course of our labors, as to what the kingdom of God is, so as to get
our hearers to understand it.
Now we, as Latter-day Saints, who are in possession of that principle
of salvation, need not say we know of a principle that will produce
salvation, for whenever the principle is developed in man, he is
already saved; he has no need to go around the bush to find something
else—he has not to take another step to get something else in his
possession before he is saved, but when the principle is in his
possession he is saved, and he is saved to the extent to which the
principle is developed in him.
Jesus Christ understood this when he took the mild way of admonishing
certain of his disciples, and rebuking them perhaps for their dullness
of apprehension, telling them they were slow of heart to believe
things that had been spoken by the Prophets.
How often have we been told that it was requisite for us to live that
the Spirit of God would come and dwell with us, live in us constantly,
until it should be a living fountain of life, and light, and glory in
our souls, until it should lead us into all truth.
What did we suppose, when we heard this, was to happen with us? What
did we suppose we were to do? What kind of feelings were we to
cultivate, if any at all, that we may have the Holy Spirit?
Says one, "that is one thing, and perhaps the thing you are talking
about is something else." What is the Holy Spirit? What will it do for
you and me? What has it ever done for any man, or for any people who
have been so happy as to enjoy the blessing of its presence with them,
as to partake of its fruits, to live and enjoy the life which it
imparts? What has it done for us?
I would like to ask every intelligent man this question, as Latter-day
Saints, if they suppose it ever revealed anything more than the truth
to any soul? Did it ever do anything beyond simply reflecting light
around individuals, in which they were enabled to discover just the
simple naked truth, which enabled them to comprehend it as well as be
sensible to its existence? What did it ever do, whether you apply its
power to revelation, to the principle of light that it would impart;
or to the fact that there is a God who lives, rules, and reigns in the
heavens above, and in the earth beneath; or whether you apply it to
something that might be called a smaller matter—a matter of less
magnitude; did it ever do anything but simply teach mankind the truth?
Then the truth is the highest point that can be gained, it is the
richest gem that can be possessed; you cannot go beyond it, nor stop
short of it without partaking of falsehood, and error. There is no
alternative left. The principle that governs the dwelling of Jehovah
is truth, simple truth, and that is all there is upon which a
permanent foundation for happiness can be laid.
If we would learn the God of truth that imparts life, and freedom from
darkness and error to us; it is simply that truth that enables us to
comprehend the facts in relation to Him. If we learn ourselves it is
the same; it would be the revelation of some principle applied to
ourselves, to our own history, to the reason why we are here, and the
same that brought us here. Then this is what the Holy Spirit will do.
We have been taught that we should so live that it should be with us
continually. How is it that we are to live that it may dwell with us?
Have we to live so as to possess this truth, this counselor,
this adviser, this minister that will admonish us of God, and for our
good, and tell us the truth always?
Have we got to depend upon the contingency of our being able, for
instance, to go to meeting every Sabbath day to hear somebody inspired
of God tell the truth that we may see it, and hear it, mark it, and
define the exact ground we should occupy, the path in which we should
walk, and the duties that should fill up the measure of days through
If this was the way that we were to be saved, by living for the truth,
and getting it in our possession, and this was to be the only
principle upon which we were to possess ourselves of its advantages,
if anything should happen that we could not go to church, we should be
as hard off as a mariner in a fog without a compass or chart. We
should, in every sense of the word, be lost, and be entirely unable to
Was this what was contemplated in the Gospel? Was it contemplated to
make the condition and circumstances of those individuals that should
embrace the Gospel better? I do not think that it was, I do not
believe it was.
The Savior intimated that whoever should do the will of his Father,
should fulfil his requirements, what should be their condition; he
intimated that this principle should be in them like a well of water
springing up to everlasting life. To the woman at the well of Samaria
he said, "Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall
One of the ancient Apostles in admonishing his brethren who had been
taught, probably as much as the Latter-day Saints have, and probably
might have embraced the Gospel with similar views; says he, "We have
also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take
heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn,
and the day star arise in your hearts."
When a man is in darkness it is necessary he should have a candle, or
some borrowed means of light to dissipate the darkness around him. How
long? Until the day dawns, and the day star arises. Where? In this
man's heart—in your neighbor's heart? No. But give heed unto the sure
word of prophecy until the day dawns, and the day star arises in your
When the day dawns, we dispense with the light of the candle; when the
day star arises in the heart, to use the language of the Apostle, it
reflects its light there. Does it wear away? No, it is there
continually. The Apostle chose that as a figure, that was as near
something immutable and without change, probably, as anything that
could occur to his mind, in selecting the dawn of day and the rising
of the day star.
The Apostle Peter spoke these words, a man inspired of God, who spoke
thus to instruct the uninstructed, that they might be brought to the
comprehension of some truths, be led to drink at some fountain of
life; this was the object for which they were to attend to this
instruction. Then you can discover, very readily, that it is the
development in the soul of every individual, of this principle of
light, or life, I care not which you call it; it is this comprehension
of truth the Apostle refers to.
That the great object of the Gospel, and the object of its being
preached was the development of its light in the soul of those
individuals that are to become heirs of salvation, the sons and
daughters of God, who are to be clothed upon with the principles of
truth with which God is clothed, that in the comprehension of truth,
they may receive capacity to will and do and accomplish those things
which are requisite to their happiness and exaltation.
And so long as this objection fails to be accomplished—so long the
preaching of the Gospel has failed to accomplish its object, as far as
those individuals are concerned, and the object for which that labor
was performed. Whether the lack is in the man who preaches, or in the
people to whom he preaches, it is all the same.
This is a point that Latter-day Saints should duly appreciate and
consider; because if we do not, the consequences are, discontent in
the mind, and dissatisfaction; we shall quarrel with circumstances
that are around us, we shall find fault, simply because we are not
contented; and because the estimates we place upon truth, and the
blessings conferred upon us, lead us to consider that they are not
worth the labor we are required to bestow, the money or means we are
required to give. The consequence is, we consider it a bad bargain,
and we want to rue; and then as Latter-day Saints we apostatize—we
quit it—we back out, saying, "we have not found Mormonism what it was
cracked up to be."
How have such people received it? What views have they entertained of
it? There are those things which will actually tell the truth on a
man, when his lips fail to speak it; his actions will tell it. What
did they consider it worth? As much of their tithing as they could not
Some may think it is worth a tithing but not any more. Another man
considers it worth everything; and more than everything of which he
can entertain a perception. He would not refuse to pour out the last
dollar; he will hunt the last corner of his pocket to get out the last
farthing to give to it. And when it comes to his labor he would not
stop to labor one day in ten, but ten whole days, and only wish there
were more days to labor to accomplish more; because in so doing he is
serving himself and enlarging his own interest, when he is seeking the
interest of "Mormonism."
Why so? Because he estimates it to be that that is universal in its
extent, and intimately associated with every principle of the Gospel,
in which the narrow conceptions of men are drowned, they are lost,
submerged like a mote cast into the ocean.
On taking this view, he does not stop at anything he can do. Does he
stand back from pouring out his life's blood? No, but he pours it out
as freely as water that glides down from the summit of the snow-clad
hills to the valleys below.
In what consists the difference between these two classes of men? It
is in the estimate they place upon the value of "Mormonism." One class
considers it worth what they gave for it, and the other considers it
worth more than they can possibly give.
Then it is as men receive the Gospel, and endorse the truth; if they
consider it excellent above everything else, so that they will
manifest their love for it, and their zeal in promoting its interests,
and the accomplishment of its object.
You can readily see, then, how the kingdom of God must be built up in
the soul of every individual; Zion must be developed there. What is
Zion? It is the pure in heart, so says the revelation. Do you suppose
you are going to build up the kingdom of God until the perfection of
purity and truth is developed in the hearts of the people of that
kingdom? No. You may gather them together by thousands, and tens of
thousands, until the concourse swell the congregation in Zion to
millions, and what will it amount to until this principle is developed
There will be a corresponding stream of apostasy flowing out, at the
same time, at the back door. What is the reason? Simply
because this principle is wanted, this important part of the Gospel is
omitted, if it has ever been thought of; its harmonizing influences
are not felt through the sphere of man's being; his interests are at
war with the interests of Zion; he runs after some fanciful notion
that is at war with the kingdom of God. He cares not for it, he would
exchange it for a piece of bread and cheese, for a farm, or for the
glittering treasure of the world.
Why, because the principle is not in the heart, that causes him to
estimate the real value of the gem which he rejects; he considers it
worth but a trifle, consequently he will barter away his chance for
it, for a trifle. That is the way men act for "Mormonism." We are
going to build up the kingdom of God, and compass sea and land to tell
the erring sons of earth the Gospel, and testify that the Lord has set
His hand again to build up the kingdom, and then get down by the
fireside and say, "Mormonism has been preached so many years, and
perhaps, in five years the Son of Man must come;" and in their
feelings they say, "It cannot be put off; from what brother Joseph
said, and from what brother Brigham has said, or somebody else, we
calculate the Son of Man will be here in a few years at the farthest.
And will he not have nice times when he comes, visiting among this
When will he come? When will be the day of righteousness that we talk
about, when peace and truth, and the kingdom of God shall cover the
earth as the waters do the deep? It will be when the principle of
truth and light and life are developed in the hearts of the people
that dwell on the face of the earth, and never until then.
Knowledge is just as near the earth, so far as that is concerned, now
as it will be then; but where is it? There is such a thing as truth,
as a comprehension of it, but that does not prove that it exists
within you or me; or that either of us have the advantage, or can
secure to ourselves the advantage of having it in possession; although
a seraph might stand by our side, whose being has been made radiant by
the light of truth, we still will be in some ignorance, corresponding
to the amount of knowledge we possess.
The light must be in the soul before its benefit can be realized. We
have heard our teacher tell us that two and two make four; if we had
never heard anything else, if this was all that had been connected
with it, would we ever have comprehended the principle? No. The
comprehension of it must exist in a man's mind. It must be in the
center of his being, a fountain of light, and consequently of life and
glory, from which fountain should proceed life and truth until it is
diffused throughout his whole being, until all his affections are
sanctified, and his judgment corrected.
Then he would have no need to pile up and read the musty records of
past ages, because the principles of light, and life, and truth are
planted in him; and when he began to partake of their fruits, to drink
of this fountain, would he thirst again? No. When a man learns the
truth, he does not feel any more anxiety about it, he does not become
hungry for the comprehension of that truth any more. So Jesus said,
"They that drink of the water I will give them shall not thirst
A man that receives the knowledge of the truth does not thirst for the
same knowledge again. This is the principle that saves men. And if
men, while they build houses and inhabit them; while they make cities,
and preach the Gospel, and gather the Saints together; if they were
enabled to succeed in developing this principle in themselves, and
then to lead people to adopt the same course that should
result in like development, then both the preacher, and the people
influenced, by his preaching, would be saved, and they would be
brought together, and associate together, and the kingdom of God would
be built up in the beauty of holiness, and in spirit and truth; and it
never can be until then.
The knowledge of God will never cover the earth until it is first in
the hearts of the people. The principle must be developed there; then
our building of houses, our suffering and toil will all find their
reward. In what? In securing to us those blessings that cannot be
destroyed; in laying up that treasure where moth and rust do not
corrupt, nor thieves break through and steal.
Where is it? Some people talk as though they would have to go to
heaven, to some distant locality to treasure up this indescribable
something called wealth where the doors and gates are strong so as to
defy the art of the robber and thief. The most secure thing I can
think of and the nearest to an imperishable reality is the knowledge
of the truth safely treasured in the memory of an intelligent human
being. When treasured there, who can steal it or get it away? They may
mar the body, and destroy it, or in other words, cause it to cease to
live, but they cannot take away from that which constitutes the man;
the treasure he holds, they cannot reach it.
If I was going to lay up an imperishable treasure, I would seek for
the knowledge of the truth, and get as much as I could of it, and
there would be my treasure, and my heart, and my soul affections. If
it was in a cold and uninhabitable region, among snow-clad hills,
where corn is hard to make, and wheat still harder, and wood a great
way off, my affections would be there because my wealth was there, and
the fountain from which this springs would be there. Then I would not
hanker after another country, only in simple obedience to the
requisition laid upon me—to serve the interests of the cause of the
truth of God.
This would fix in the soul a principle of contentment that would wear
out hardship and toil, and outlive them, and shed the light of peace
and harmony throughout the whole field of a man's being and operations
in life. He would be contented all the time.
Would such a man ever apostatize? No. Was a contented man ever known
to apostatize? No. I never saw an apostate yet, but could tell me of
some dissatisfied desire that caused him to apostatize.
Then if you feel discontented you may know one thing, that you are not
as you should be, that you have not within you the principle that
should reign there, to influence, govern, and control you; that should
dictate your course, and give shape to your actions.
I want you to remember this, and become philosophers, and examine
yourselves, establish an inquisition at home, within the circle you
should control, over that little empire over which each of you should
rule, and learn whether the love of truth is reigning there, or
gathering strength each day.
And if you do not, on examination, find your love of truth a little
better today, and that you would do a little more for it today than
twenty-five years ago, you had better get up and look around you, for
you are certainly going downhill, and you will soon be like the man
that found "Mormonism" to be not what it was cracked up to be; you
will be going south to a warmer country, or to some other place.
I want you to become philosophers, as far as examining yourselves is
concerned, and in seeing how that little kingdom is getting
on, that should be built up within you. "O," says one, "that is too
spiritual." I know it is very spiritual. It is said, "The letter
killeth, but the spirit giveth life."
But I never thought the kingdom could be built up in a man's heart. I
wish you as Latter-day Saints, when you go home, would sit down and
study rationally, and see what principle there is that will be
developed in building up the kingdom of God, according to the light of
inspiration; you can read in the good book, and according to all that
has ever shone around you, or in your own heart; and if you can find a
principle in building up that kingdom, you will find one that, in the
first place, is to be developed in the circle of every human being
that hopes to be associated in building it up.
There must be harmony in the kingdom of God in order to its peace,
union, and strength. There must be a perfect subordination to those
fixed and unchanging principles that characterize the operations of
God. If this is not developed in you, what will you do, when
associated with faithful brethren and sisters, in building up the
kingdom of God?
You will feel yourselves literally crushed under the pressure of
responsibility which will rest upon you; you will be broken up, as it
were, and will apostatize, and will be cast out as salt that has lost
its savor, and is good for nothing but to be trodden underfoot.
If we have counted on you as a Saint, as a substantial material, when
we come to look for you, we do not find you, but we find the place you
filled unoccupied, waiting to be filled with some better material,
when it is on hand, how long will it take us to build up Zion, to
emigrate people from the far off corners of the earth, and they
apostatize and run away when they get here? What a Zion we should
What attraction would it create to the nations? How brilliant its
light? The Zion and kingdom of God never was so built up; it is not so
being built up now. What is it that marks the advance of the cause of
truth on earth—tells it definitely and truly? If you want to find this
out, read the people of the Saints of the Most High, and see if they
love the truth, and give it their supreme regard, to the exclusion of
You may take this man or woman, and give them the appropriate place in
the organization of the Church, and they are there every time you call
for them, they will always answer. When you put your hand where you
expect they are, you will not find a vacancy that is not filled. If
you require a service done, you will always find the individual there
to perform it, no odds whether it is duty at home or abroad, pleasant
Then how is the cause of God advanced? Just as fast as those
principles are being developed in the people. That tells her strength,
power, and durability. If it is not the love of the truth that binds
the people of God together, that holds them firmly round the great
center from which they cannot be induced to take their departure, and
for which there is no feeling of the soul but would exert its
influence to the fullest extent to bind them to it, then what is it?
Who is it? It is not Brigham Young and his associates.
It is no man or set of men that binds the Saints to the truth, that
holds them together, and that maintains the rule and supremacy of the
authority of God on the earth, but it is the principle of truth and
the love of it developed in the hearts of the people, and the
influence it exerts over them. Do the people appreciate it? I do not
think they do fully, or to a very great extent.
Why do I think this? Because, forsooth, some who feel a great
deal of human solicitude for the cause of God, would be very sorrowful
because somebody is going to leave. "O, dear, I really do feel the
cause of God will apostatize, if we lose our President for a little
time, for a few months or a year, what will become of us?"
They suppose, with all the strength of the authorities of this
kingdom, aided by the strength of God, they have as much as they can
do to hold the people together. Such people make no calculation on the
influence and strength of truth, but on the influence of frail man,
or on the influence of a set of mortals like themselves, who enjoy
more of the light of inspiration than they.
Does the Lord tell us this? We know He has said it is His business to
provide for His Saints. What does He require of you and me? Simply,
enough to save ourselves. Says one, "I supposed I had to save nearly
half the world to become great in the kingdom of God."
If you are able to save yourselves, you will do first-rate, because
you will get all the reward you need—all that will make you happy, and
an abundant entrance will be administered unto you into the
everlasting kingdom of God, and to the enjoyment of everything that
is requisite to your happiness.
They would not ask you in that state whether you have saved one, two,
a hundred, or a hundred thousand souls besides yourself. "What, and I
sent you to preach for them?" Why, to save yourself. And the reason
why a great many of our Traveling Elders apostatize, and now mingle
with that class of sinners, is simply because they fail to apply the
principles to themselves which they recommend to others.
"What do you preach for?" To save yourselves. If I get myself saved I
am not concerned about you. I am preaching these principles to you
today, to discharge a duty that I owe to you, that I may be saved. It
is the same when I am somewhere else. "But is buying a ranch embraced
in your salvation. What did you buy that land for, did you do it to
preach the Gospel? Do you go down to San Bernardino to preach the
Gospel? Did President Young tell you to come here and preach?" No, he
said he wanted to see me; so I came and looked at him, and he saw me;
and then the brethren wanted me to preach, and I have preached some
ideas that may be new, and if I should find out something else I did
not before comprehend, I shall preach it. And I would preach just as
quick anywhere else as here, because the Saints are all alike to me;
their progression is one, their hopes and expectations are one, or
should be; and their heaven and reward will be one when they obtain
them; and it will all be in the same country. Will it be in San
Bernardino? No. In Salt Lake Valley? No. Will it be in any one of the
settlements of the Saints to the exclusion of the rest? No. Where will
it be? In here. In your own hearts. When you get your heaven built up
there so that it becomes a living organized creation, with all its
parts and properties properly associated and developed, as the parts
are in the physical being of man, you would not go to tom fooling over
the earth to find a heaven, because you carry it with you continually.
If you go on a journey you take your heaven with you, or if you stay
at home, it is there; if you go to meeting, you take it with you; and
when you die and your spirit mingles with the spirits of just men made
perfect, you take your heaven there. Says one, "How is the kingdom of
God to be built up if that constitutes the great and important point?"
Why, bring in the Saints from the four corners of the earth,
by tens of millions, and associate them together, and what will they
do? They will do what they are required to do. They will live in
harmony one with another collectively, and with themselves
individually, and with their God; consequently, the will of God will
be done on earth, as in heaven. The principles of truth will be
exemplified in the conduct of men on earth as it is with the spirits
of the just in heaven, because men will know and appreciate the truth,
and their conduct will be shaped according to it.
If this is not good Gospel, get something that is better. This Gospel
fills up this little creation we live in. Where do we live? In the
midst of space. Why? Because it is all around us. How far does it
extend? To infinitude. The creation of man cannot reach it, his
thoughts tire in the contemplation of it.
This little portion of the Gospel we commenced to tell the people
years ago, this meager supply of truth, which fills up the narrow
comprehension of us mortals, is a part of that great whole which
occupies this space, and that constitutes all the glory, happiness,
and bliss that is within that illimitable field.
You cannot name another heaven, you cannot find the material to make
it of, you have no foundation upon which to build it. You cannot by
your own reaching get away any portion of this Gospel, for it takes up
all the material around us; you must go beyond this space where we
occupy, so to operate. Do you esteem "Mormonism" as being worth all
the wealth that is embraced in this vast infinitude of extent? Then
what do you wish to exchange it for? Don't go and fool it away for a
little tea and coffee, for a little sugar, peaches, and grapes, or for
a warmer climate; in so doing you would show yourselves but poor
financiers; I would not wish you to operate for me; and the master
will think as I do; if you go and fool away the treasure committed to
your keeping, will he ever give you another penny to start upon again?
I do not know whether he will or not. He will probably not do it until
you have been poor, and ragged, and destitute, and a beggar for a long
Be faithful now, and learn this one thing—that we have not learned the
Gospel, but learned of it, and are still learning of it, as much truth
as we can gain. How fast do we learn? Just as fast as the condition of
feeling we cultivate will allow us; just as much as the spirit of it
is with us; just so much we learn.
Do you want to secure blessings? Says one, "I want to do a great deal
for my dead friends, and to this end I want to get into the temple of
the Lord." The Gospel has to do with this; why? Because it is inside
the elements of the Gospel—it comes within the scope of its
principles, and extent, and application to man's existence and
Then do not be in a hurry about getting into the temple before you are
prepared to go there. Some act as though they had no other idea, but
that they will be able to get in by stealth; they expect to storm
heaven, and force blessings from the Almighty irrespective of their
claim. This is not the spirit of the Gospel, it is not thus in the
temple of God.
I shall secure to myself how much? That that my conduct has rendered
me worthy of. "But suppose brothers Brigham, Heber, and Jedediah
pronounce blessings upon me, shall I not get them?" If you are worthy
of them you will. You are not to speculate in prospective on the
blessings you expect to get; if you live here so as to be worthy of
them, what need you fear about anything.
It is impossible in the nature of truth, for you to lose anything of which you are worthy; God cannot lie; He cannot forsake His
faithful children, and disannul the promise He has made to them.
Do you want to hasten the building of the temple, or any other work,
which will be to the interest of Zion on earth? Then commence at home;
take a home mission, and attend strictly to the "Mormon" creed, which
you know is, "Mind your own business."
Suppose you all individually take a home mission, to examine
yourselves, and institute that inquisition I have alluded to, into
your own conduct and condition, day by day, week by week, month by
month, and year by year. Is it not of importance that it should be set
To keep this perishable body from starving, you would work day and
night; is not the soul of man, that can never die, that must be happy
or miserable for eternity, worth your notice? Go to work and examine
yourselves for a short time each day, and see how you are getting on.
You need not take it for granted that because you live in Great Salt
Lake City, you will be saved; but if there are not thousands damned
who live in this place, I shall be mistaken, and things will turn out
better than I expect. "If that is the case in Salt Lake City, how are
they doing in San Bernardino?" They are doing as you are here.
"Why, I did not suppose you had good people enough there to do as we
are doing here." What do you suppose is the difference between good
men here and in San Bernardino? I feel that I am about the same sort
of a man there as here, I do not feel any better here today than I
should if I were there. I do not feel the weight of my responsibility
any different, not a particle.
The good men down there, that love the truth, are working
righteousness. Is there anymore done here? If any man is doing
anything but serving God—that loves the truth—I would like to know his
"But have you not many bad people there?" Yes, a great many, I wish we
had fewer. You may suppose we have them there, because they left here.
However, we try to do as well as we can, and, if on the tide of human
events, too great a preponderance of wickedness does not float in our
midst, the truth will triumph; and if it does not, I do not care as
concerns myself, so I am found a righteous man, acting according to
the dictations of truth, that will save me.
That is the way we are getting along in San Bernardino. And here I may
also observe, it is the way they are getting on in all the settlements
of the Saints, and everywhere else.
We have not as many Saints down there as you have, but we have as many
of one sort: and I feel as though I am interested down there as I am
here, only not in the way I am here.
Having made these few scattering remarks, just as they came into my
mind, without study or arrangement, I will forbear. If I have said
anything wrong, I have no objections that you forget it; I hope you
may; and what I have said that is right, I would like you to remember,
because I am interested in having you remember it; and in having this
people with the Saints everywhere, become a pure, a great and good
people, because I am interested in the building up of the kingdom of
God, and wherever that people and the interest of the kingdom is
represented, there is my interest. And I hope when we have wound up
the little routine of duties assigned us here, we shall have secured
to ourselves that wealth that shall be to us worth all sublunary
considerations, and remain when they have passed away. That we may all
obtain this, is my prayer, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
- Amasa M. Lyman