I rise before you this morning, my friends and brethren, to preach to
you the everlasting Gospel, for as my calling has been for the last
quarter of a century to proclaim this Gospel, I have always
endeavored to do my duty both before you and others, here and in many
Before I came here this morning, I was thinking, what shall I say to
the brethren and sisters, if called upon to speak, and after a
moment's reflection, I said, I will preach the Gospel, and when
brother Kimball called upon me to address you, he said, "Brother
Parley, we want you to preach the Gospel to us."
The Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is the only system
whereby man can be saved, and his being the only name whereby we can
approach our Father in heaven with acceptance, the only name in which
remissions of sins can be obtained, and the only name whereby man can
have power over unclean spirits, over devils, over diseases, over the
elements, and over everything this side of the celestial kingdom, and its
influences, it is of the highest importance, therefore, that this
message of life should be declared to all the world.
This Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was once born in Bethlehem,
crucified on Calvary, risen again from the dead, and having ascended
to his Father and to our Father to lead captivity captive, and give
gifts unto men, his name has become the only name under heaven through
which man may be saved—receive everlasting life and exaltation. It is
the only name by which man can get remission of sins, the gift of the
Holy Spirit, and all its attendant blessings. It is the only name by
which we may approach our Father in heaven and invoke His
blessings—the only name by which we may control disease, and the very
elements, by the power of His Spirit and the authority of His
This same Jesus, after having risen from the dead, after having
received all power in heaven and on the earth, gave a mission to his
Apostles, Peter and others, to go into all the world, preach the
Gospel to every creature, baptize them in the name of the Father, Son,
and of the Holy Ghost, and gave commandments that repentance and
remission of sins should be preached in his name, in all the world,
beginning at Jerusalem.
Having given these commandments, and instructed his Apostles that they
should teach all things whatsoever he commanded, he ascended up on
high, and took his seat upon the right hand of God his Father, and he
then shed forth the gift of the Holy Ghost, and bestowed gifts upon
Those Apostles began at Jerusalem to perform the duties of their
mission, for it had been said that they should tarry there until they
were endowed with power from on high; and after receiving this power
they stood forth and preached to the people, on the day of Pentecost,
the crucified and risen Redeemer, and when the people were convinced
of the death and resurrection of the Messiah, and wished to know what
to do to get rid of their sins, and become acceptable in the sight of
heaven, Peter told them to repent and be baptized, every one of them,
in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and he then
added, "For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all
that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call."
This being written in the 2nd chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, in
the New Testament, as the first instructions given by Peter and the
Apostles, at the place appointed, and at the time appointed, and under
the circumstances appointed, and this being the first attempt to carry
out the great mission—"to preach the Gospel to the world," hence
conclude that the Gospel there preached was the same Gospel that was
to be preached in all the world, and that was to be efficacious to all
the world, it mattered not what color or country, what nation or
language, learned or unlearned, Hindoo or anything else, it was the
everlasting Gospel given by the Savior, at the place appointed, and at
the time appointed, when they were endowed with power from on high,
the Holy Ghost descending upon them agreeably to the promise.
Consequently, at that time and under those circumstances, which I have
briefly named, the Apostles made that proclamation, viz., that all
should repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the
remission of sins; and they were told that all who would do this,
should receive the remission of sins, and that the Gospel, with its
promises, should go to every creature; and whether in some distant age
or country that mankind should be found, it mattered not; there the
Lord should send His Gospel with the promise of remission of sins, and
the gift of the Holy Ghost, through obedience to the Gospel. Yes, in
every place and among all people the promises should hold good, and
the signs follow them that believe.
This Gospel, its history, and characteristics, are clearly recorded in
the New Testament, in the English version, translated by the order of
King James, and handed down to us by our fathers; and it is also given
to us by our fathers, in the Book of Mormon, and in many other good
books, and in the words of many other good men who lived in ancient
times, and in the words of many modern men, and many of our young men
are made partakers of it by becoming members of the Church of Christ,
and they know what it is to become members of the body of Christ, and
to be justified, freed from sin, and to stand before God with
clean hearts and pure minds.
We have to know these things, and to be made sensible of what it is to
feel the satisfying influence of His Holy Spirit.
Mind you do not forget, when we preach this Gospel, that it is a
Gospel of repentance; do not slip over part of it, but while summing
it up, look at it item by item. It is the Gospel of repentance, not a
mere Gospel of baptism, but a Gospel of repentance, and remission of
sins, to be preached in all the world.
Why have any people a notion or disposition to obey this Gospel? How
can the people determine whether this Gospel is good, whether it is of
any value to them, or what it will do for the people generally if
complied with? What would this Gospel do for the people of any age if
they would obey it as a people? Whether it were a neighborhood, a
town, a city, a nation, or a world, or a million of worlds, I ask what
would it do for that neighborhood, that people, that city, that
nation, or that world? I will tell you. There would be no thieving
there any longer, there would be no lying there any longer, no
cheating, no deceiving, no intentional breaking of promises, no wrong
dealing, no extortion, no hatred, no envy, and no evil speaking. But
why would all these things cease? Simply because they obeyed the
Gospel; because obedience to the Gospel implies repentance, which
means nothing more nor less than putting away all our evils, and
ceasing to do them. Among the people that obeyed the Gospel there
would be no longer adulterers, nor fornicators, nor any other evil
that you can name.
Now what cause of objection can people have in any age, among any
nation or language—in England or in Texas, or anywhere else, to a
Gospel that would have a tendency to put away all those evils from
among men? But, say you, "Are there no evils where this Gospel is
obeyed?" No sir; where this Gospel prevails in the heart of an
individual, that individual ceases from those things which are evil,
for he is cleansed from them; he refrains from all that tends to evil.
As the Gospel influences a man's heart, he ceases to countenance all
evil practices, and where the Gospel influences his family, there is a
family without those evils, and if a town or a city can be found that
is influenced by the Gospel, there you will find a town or city
without those evils which I have named, and you will find them
gradually putting away those which may be amongst them, as fast as
they perceive them.
"But really," says one, "in Utah, I thought the Gospel was pretty well
obeyed, and yet we are not without those evils, we are not entirely
free from those sins." Allowing such to be the case, that does not
make these words false. Show me a man that is guilty of false
swearing, a man that is found traducing his brethren, or that is found
evil speaking, or that is a fornicator or a thief, and I will show you
a man that does not obey the Gospel; he may call himself a "Mormon," a
Latter-day Saint, or a brother in Christ, but that is not proving that
he has repented of his sins, but as repentance is a part and parcel of
the everlasting Gospel of Jesus Christ, and without which we cannot be
benefited by his atonement and his mercy, we cannot have the
blessings he purchased without we associate repentance with our faith.
I say, as repentance is an essential part of the Gospel, that the man
who has not put away his sins has deceived himself, because this
repentance is one of the first principles of salvation. If I have
other sins, and then add the sin of neglecting repentance, my case is
still worse than it was before.
I have known the Gospel, as I remarked, for 25 years, and in that time
I have materially altered my views upon some points. I then thought
that they came into the Church for the purpose of repenting and
forsaking their evils, and receiving the Gospel with all their hearts
and with a resolution to do right. Well, it is true that there is a
oneness, as far as repentance and faith is concerned, in the outward
acknowledgment, but do all who in word acknowledge the Gospel forsake
their sins? We would all like to see such a state of things in the
world, we would like to see our neighbors forsaking their sins, even
if we could not forsake and overcome our own dear sins. Suppose we
happen to repent and leave off our sins, would not that be about
right? Would not that answer for us without waiting for others? Or can
we have some ceremony performed that will do as well, something
besides leaving off our sins and leading a new life?
Perhaps we may not come to the repentance of fear, or feel afraid of
doing wrong, but the other part we will come to, says one, "For
instance the baptism for the remission of sins given by the Savior, in
whose name we can receive every good gift, and without whose name we
cannot receive any spiritual gift." Then seeing that he, with all this
power in his hands, and he, knowing all things that would be good for
man, not only ordered that repentance should be preached in his name,
but that the Apostles should baptize the people in his name, and to
fulfil this mission they did baptize the penitent believer for the
remission of sins; and they exhorted the people, every one of them, to
repent and obey this ordinance for the remission of sins; and they
also assured them that if they would do so they should have the gift
of the Holy Ghost; and the Apostles further assured them that this
promise was to them that were afar off, to all nations and
countries—it extended to every creature.
And now, what objection can a man have to obeying one part more than
another part of the Gospel? Why should men have such various opinions
about the Gospel when it is so plainly set forth? One man says, "I
suppose that baptizing or sprinkling me when I was an infant was
sufficient, for that was the custom in those days, and I suppose they
called that baptism." Well, have we not shown you that repentance was
of God, and therefore that all men must repent? Jesus Christ did not
come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance, and he also
commanded his servants to go forth testifying to those that were
seeking the kingdom of God, and gave them power to heal the sick and
cast out devils.
Can little children commit sins? Can they hear the Gospel and receive
it in their hearts? Can little children reason, think, repent, and
bring forth fruits meet for the kingdom of God? Can little children be
instructed to obey the Gospel in their infancy? To all these questions
every rational man would answer—No! Well, then, what have we to do
with the Gospel as it pertains to little children? We are willing to
carry out the instructions of the Savior where we are told to bless
them, and this we are willing to do wherever we see them, and to pray
for them, but to sinners that are sufficiently grown to be free to act
for themselves—persons who are sufficiently grown to be accountable
before the Almighty, and to be capable of conceiving sin in their
hearts, and of bringing forth the fruits of it, to such was repentance
and baptism, and therefore the Gospel could never be applied to little
infants; it was a Gospel of voluntary obedience, and therefore it
could not apply to the infant in its mother's arms.
Go and "teach" all nations, and baptize the people; not the teaching
to "follow" baptism, but teach them to observe all the things spoken
by Jesus. Well, now, if you baptize a little infant, then remember to
tell it all the things; teach it, then baptize, after which, you must
teach it to observe all things.
But you see it won't require a dead form to carry out the Gospel of
Christ, but an infant could not ask, what is the word? Persons have
been used to trust to a dead form and have their children sprinkled,
but if any of you were sprinkled, it was at a time when you could not
help yourself, and hence you do not know anything about it, only, that
you have been told that somebody sprinkled you when an infant.
Then, notwithstanding your infant sprinkling, you never obeyed the
Gospel because it was a Gospel of repentance, and is to be so when
carried to all whom the Lord our God shall call. The Gospel, which we
have to preach, is a Gospel of repentance and of remission of sins, to
everyone that will obey it, including a baptism, a voluntary baptism,
which is applicable to all the truly obedient, in every nation, who
are determined to lead a new life, and bring forth fruit meet for
repentance, and what was it? The Apostle, in the New Testament,
informs us that it was to be buried with Christ by baptism into his
death, and rise to newness of life in the likeness of his
In my travels abroad, I sometimes meet, among many others, members of
the church of Rome, so called; I believe they call themselves such. I
say to them, "Are you sure there was such a church as that in the days
of the Apostles, and that you are members of that church?" "If there
was such a church," says I, "it is spoken of in the New Testament.
Well are you sure that you are a member of the church of Rome that is
spoken of as having grown and swelled and perpetuated itself? How have
you become such?" "By being baptized," is the answer. "Then you
think an unbaptized person was not a member of that church?" "Yes, we
would consider all such persons aliens."
"Well, then, I will convince you that you are not a legal member in
the church of Rome, baptism being the initiatory right into that
church." "How will you do it," says he, "Because the Apostle in
his epistle gives instructions and directions how every member was
initiated into the Church, that was established by himself at Rome." He
says that "as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put
on Christ, and if ye have put on Christ, then are ye Christ's."
"He also says, 'Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into
Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried
with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from
the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in
newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness
of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:
Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of
sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.'"
Romans, chapter 6:3-6.
"Now," says I, "remember that every one of your members of the Church
of Rome have been buried with Christ by baptism into death, and hence
you must have risen to newness of life in the likeness of his
resurrection. So writes the Apostle to the true Church of Rome, and
you will find it in the New Testament, as before stated."
"Now then," says I, "you have acknowledged that no man is a member
the Church of Rome, unless he has been baptized, and the
Apostle himself says that 'every member of the Church of Rome has been
buried with Christ by baptism, and has risen again from that grave
into the likeness of his resurrection.' Where, Sir, were you buried
with him, and when did you rise from that grave in the likeness of his
death and resurrection? And have you ever led a new life, avoiding
this sin and the other which you before were guilty of?"
"Well," says the professor of Roman religion, "You have got us in a
curious position, I must acknowledge; I will have to give it up, for
that is true; it is the written word of an Apostle of God. I have
never become a member of the Church of Rome, and am consequently an
heathen, according to the views of the Roman Catholic Church."
I have conversed with men who have come out as honestly as men could
in their positions. Members of the Catholic Church have come out as
honestly as I have stated, and said that they must give up, but the
Protestants are very tenacious, and will stick to their creed, often
in spite of reason. I presume they are like all men in reference to
tenacity, they would stick to their oath, that, if possible, they
might gain converts to their faith.
The question is often asked, "Are there any honest people among this
sect, and the other party?" I tell you there are honest men in every
sect of religionists, and if you try to classify men, you will have a
difficult job, for you will find honest men in this class and the
other, and, in fact, among all classes and sects of men.
You need not suppose that honesty depends upon our traditions, or upon
where a man was born; but there are honest people in every community,
and in every sect under heaven, and there are those that hate the
truth, and that would not aid in the spread of light and truth, nor
lend their in fluence to any servant of God under the heavens.
Well now, I love a man without regard to his country, or where he was
brought up, without reference to color or nation. I love a man that
loves the truth, and I do not blame any man under heaven for having
been born and brought up in any particular town, city, or nation. You
might as well blame a man for being brought up under certain
traditions, in countries where they have not had the opportunity of
discoursing with others, no discussions, no free press, where they
never could know anything else but tradition through life.
You might as well blame them for their country as for their
traditions. Circumstances might come round, and so order the course of
a man's mind and his mission as to give him a new channel of thought,
and prevent his making any distinction, as it was with the Apostle
There are whole nations, and generations of them, that have lived and
died with the same knowledge right before their eyes, and that without
the opportunity of thinking of any other degrees of knowledge. Well,
what did Peter do with regard to those he was called to visit and
preach to? When he preached the Gospel under the instructions of a
risen Jesus, when he undertook to preach the Gospel—repentance,
baptism, and the laying on of hands for the gifts of the Holy Ghost,
he said, "The promise is to you;" meaning that present generation, and
he thought a little more, and then said, "It is to your children;"
meaning the next generation, and finally his heart enlarged a little
further, by the Holy Ghost that was in him, and he uttered its
dictation, "To all that are afar off;" and then he happened to think
that they might count those that had been brought up in some other
country, with different tradition, and he limited a little, and
said, "Even to as many as the Lord our God shall call."
Although the mind of Peter was liable to be too contracted, he knew
one thing, viz., that the Lord their God was in the habit of
communicating with the people, and he understood that He always would
be, for he knew that God lived, and he also knew that the Lord Jesus
Christ was alive, for he had seen and talked with him, and had handled
him, and he had seen him ascend up on high; and he had heard him
testify that he had all power given him in heaven and in earth, and
he knew that he would have power to send the Gospel to every creature,
for he had the keys to send the Gospel wherever he pleased, to all
tribes, nations, and languages, in worlds without end, therefore when
he made the promise he only limited it, or gave it a certain
jurisdiction, recollecting where it belonged.
The promise he gave of the Holy Ghost was to all that are afar off, to
those whom the Lord our God shall call. To express it in language more
appropriate than any other, perhaps, the promise of the Holy Ghost is,
to wherever the Lord sends forth a revelation, wherever He makes
proclamation of the Gospel, wherever He commissions men and sends
forth the keys of the kingdom of God, and authorizes men to administer
those ordinances in His name. It matters not whether in Judea, or
America, or whether it be in Samaria, or England, whether to the
heathen, the Jew, or the refined philosopher. It matters not whether
we apply it to ancient days or modern times, wherever the Almighty God
or Jesus Christ His Son, sees fit to reveal the fulness of the Gospel,
and the keys of the eternal Priesthood, and the ministration of
angels, there the promise contained in the Gospel was to hold good;
and the nation or people obeying that call should receive remission of
sins in his name, in obedience to his Gospel, and be filled with the
Holy Spirit of Promise—the Holy Ghost, which is the gift of prophecy
and revelation, and also includes many other gifts.
Is that Gospel any less true because it was revealed to Mormon, and
was preached by him? Is that truth any less true because it has been
hid up in the earth, inscribed upon plates, and has come forth and
been translated in this age of the world? Was not that Gospel as good
when preached to the Nephites in America, as it was when preached to
the Jews in Palestine?
And if as good why not write it? And if good enough to be preached and
written, why not have those writings and read them, and rejoice in the
spirit and truths they contain?
Rejoice because it swells the heart, expands the mind, gives a more
enlarged view of God's dealings and mercies, shows them to be extended
to all extent, published in different countries, and upon different
continents, revealed to one nation as well as another; in short, it
gives a man that feeling when he contemplates the bearing and extent
of that Gospel; it gives a man a feeling which affords joy and
satisfaction to the soul; it gives a man that feeling which angels had
when they sung in the ears of the shepherds of Judea—"We bring you
glad tidings of great joy" —which shall be in a few countries, and to a
few people? No, that was not the song, though they were singing to
those who had a few traditions in their families; which they had
received from their forefathers.
The shepherds were astonished, and well they might be, and they
brought everybody to this text throughout the whole of Judea. Still
those angels were honest enough to sing the whole truth,
notwithstanding the Jews looked upon all Gentiles as dogs, and I think
I hear the shepherds saying, that brought glad tidings to
everybody—"To these dogs?" Still the angels—a choir of
enough to sing, "We bring you glad tidings of great joy, which shall
be to all people!"
What a big saying for Jewish shepherds! Why they must have enlarged
their hearts, and wondered at this very strange news! Why Peter had
hardly got his heart sufficiently enlarged to believe these glad
tidings, many years after they were proclaimed, although he had
preached so much.
It swelled by degrees, and contracted again, I suppose, and at last he
had to have a vision, and a sheet let down from heaven, and things
shown him, and explained to him over and over again, to get him to
realize the truth of the glad tidings sung by angels at the birth of
It was showing so much, it was too broad a platform, such a boundless
ocean of mercy! It was making such a provision for the human family
that Peter could not comprehend it. If the angel had said it was for
the Jews, for the peculiar people of God, these that could receive the
new revelation, why then it might have done; but to throw off their
traditions, they who were the peculiar few, as they considered
themselves, to believe that the glad tidings of the Savior's birth was
for those Gentile dogs, they could not endure this for a moment. They
were of the house of Israel, the seed of promise.
This was indeed a peculiar vision, bringing the glad tidings of the
Savior's birth—for that was the peculiar mission of those angels—hence
they did not bring the Gospel, they did not say anything about
baptism, nor repentance, nor remission of sins, but they simply
brought glad tidings of it. They announced the fact that a Savior was
born at such a date and place, told the birthplace and events of a
Savior being born in Bethlehem, under the circumstances named at that
time, and declared that this news, this glad tidings, should go to all
What was the result? Why it went through Judea; it was sounded through
Samaria; it went to Rome and to Greece; it went to Ethiopia; it went
to the uttermost parts of the earth; it soon bounded over the sea; the
angels of God that sung that song could never contradict their words.
If then they had to carry it over the seas, to every country and
continent where the seed of promise was, they were bound to fulfil
that mission, and they swiftly flew to America, and proclaimed the
glad tidings there.
They found the people there shut out by a cloud of darkness, from the
light of truth. They found a people there called the Nephites and
Lamanites who were a branch of the house of Israel, that were cast
off, or rather brought over the great waters from their country, and
they bore the glad tidings to them (you have read it in the Book of
Nephi), and they informed them that at such a time and place the Savior
By and by the Savior himself came over here, and told it to the
people; but this was after his resurrection, for the work was too
much, and the field too large for his mortal life; for he had but a
few years to preach the Gospel to the Jews, and part of that short
life of 33 years was he a child—a boy, and hence, he had to be limited
to that country where he had a mortal body, and could be borne by the
mountain waves that might separate one country from another. But after
his resurrection, he was as independent of the waves and mountains as
he was of those who crucified him; for then he could rise above their
power; he was able to pass from planet to planet with perfect ease;
he was as able to ascend up and go from continent to continent; he
was as able to ascend to his God, and to our God, as he was to
appear to his disciples.
I say, Jesus could not be held in Palestine; the mountains, nor the
rolling seas had not power to stay his progress, for he had told his
disciples, while he was yet living, that he had other sheep which were
not of that fold, and, said he, "They shall hear my voice."
In fulfillment of this, and according to the nature of his grand
commission, the Savior of the whole world, not half of it, in his
glorified body, showed himself to the Nephites in America, and
bestowed upon them the Priesthood, with all its gifts and
qualifications—that same glorious Gospel that he had just before given
to his Prophets and Apostles at Jerusalem—and he told those whom he
selected to hold the Priesthood upon this continent, to go forth and
preach the same glad tidings of salvation to all their world,
fulfilling in part the words of Peter, "For the promise is to all that
are afar off."
And Jesus called to those Nephites, when he descended, and they fell
at his feet, as many as could get near him, and they bathed his feet
in their tears, and they examined his wounds, and heard the gracious
words of his mouth, and they saw him ascend, and descend again, and
they felt so large in their charity and affections, and the light of
truth was so large and extended in its benefits, and benevolence; and
the testimony so strong, that they feasted upon the blessings that
were bestowed, and he then commanded them to write his sayings, and an
account of the miracles he wrought among them.
They did this as he commanded, and they liked the writings so well
that they handed them down to each succeeding prophet, until Mormon,
who was born three or four ages afterwards; and he could not hand
those sacred records down any further because of apostasy, and the
blasphemy and wickedness of the people, and because of the wars and
troubles that spread among the people; so he made a secret deposit of
those writings, and put them in the earth, and he also wrote a book
and called it the "Book of Mormon," which was an abridgment of the
other records, and this was hid up to the Lord, and through the
interference of the Almighty, a young man, Joseph Smith, by the gift
and power of God—I say, through that young man, and the ministration
of holy angels to him, that book came forth to the world, and it has
since that time been preached and read in our language, and many
others, and we rejoice in it, and have borne testimony of it in the
It is through that blessed Book of Mormon, with that blessed Gospel in
it, that we have the testimony which we have in reference to the death
and resurrection of the Savior of men.
It is true, as recorded in the Book of Mormon, and as preached upon
this continent, and it is true as written in the New Testament, and as
it was preached to the Jews in Jerusalem, and as preached to the Ten
Tribes, though we have not got their record yet, but we will have it,
and we shall find that the blessed Jesus revealed to them the Gospel,
and that they rejoiced in it.
And their record will come so that we will know of a surety, and of a
truth, that they had the everlasting Gospel as well as their brethren
in Jerusalem, and upon this continent.
When these things come to pass we will have three ancient records,
delivered in three different countries. We have in the Old and New
Testaments, and the Book of Mormon, and other good books, all we at
We shall eventually have the history of the Ten Tribes in the north,
of the Nephites in America, and of the Jews in Jerusalem, and
their written testimony will become one, and their words will become
one, and the people of God will be gathered, under testimony, into one
body, and the testimony of the Latter-day Saints will become one with
that of the Former-day Saints (and it is now so far as it goes), and
the testimonies of those shall sweep the earth as with a flood, and by
the voice of men and angels, and eventually by the great sound of a
trumpet, and none shall escape.
Prior to this great destruction, the everlasting Gospel will be taught
to them by the servants of God, by the testimony of men and angels,
and by the testimony of Jesus Christ, and by the testimony of ancient
and modern Prophets; by the testimony of Joseph Smith, and of the
Apostles ordained by him, and by the testimony of ancient and modern
Saints; by the testimony of the Ten Tribes; by the testimony of heaven
and the testimony of earth; then shall the wicked be sent to their own
place, and truth shall be established in the earth; and the voice of
joy and gladness shall be heard with the meek of the earth.
Those that forsake their sins shall have abundant cause to rejoice
with those that love the truth, and are made pure in heart by it.
Joy and gladness shall be heard, and there shall be glad tidings to
all the meek, and to all the pure in heart; to all that love
instruction; to all that will not harden their hearts; to all the
sinners that will be obedient and refrain from their sins, and live a
The cry will no longer go forth, "They will not repent and be
converted, that I may heal them;" for the Lord God, the blessed
Savior, who is full of virtue, power, and love, and healing, with his
Priesthood will bless them, and they will find comfort, for he will
From the fact that Jesus complains of a people that will not be
converted, lest he might heal them, we would conclude from that, that
conversion was a condition of the healing power. Why, says he, "They
will not turn from their sins and be converted, that I may heal
them." But when they are converted and grown up into one, the day of
his power comes, and then says he, "They are converted, and I will
Don't you see that he came to the Nephites (you have read it in the
Book of Mormon), and he said, "Bring forth your halt, and blind, and
dumb, and I will heal them, for I see your faith is sufficient and I
will heal them all;" and he healed them every one as they were brought
to him. That day of general healing came to them, for the more wicked
part of the inhabitants had been cut off, and I would to God that that
day would come among us.
Well, let us be converted, and those that have been converted and have
held on to it, be converted a little more, for I tell you I like
conversion pretty often. I don't mean that I like people to turn round
from the truth and then repent, and say, I am sorry; but I mean that a
man needs converting today, and the next day, and the day after,
because a man that is progressing learns by degrees. Today he gets to
understand that a certain principle or practice of his is wrong; and
when he finds himself wrong, and learns his error, he turns from it;
but even then he does not understand all things pertaining to right
and wrong. He has not learned all things that might stand in the way
of building up the kingdom of God, and hence, he wants or needs to be
converted today, and the next day, and the next, and so on until he
is converted from all his bad habits, and from his impurities, and he
becomes just such a man as the Lord delights in.
And Jesus said, "Be ye as I am, and I am as the Father." He
contrasts himself and them with the Father, and then says, "What
manner of men ought ye to be? Verily I say unto you such as I am, and
I am as the Father is."
It is for this purpose that we came into the world, that we might
become like the Father; and that we may become like Him, we need
converting every day, or at least until we are free from all evil,
even if it be five hundred times—not to turn away from the truth, but
keep going on to perfection.
We need converting until we feel that indeed the promise of the Holy
Ghost is "to all that afar off, even to as many as the Lord our God
shall call." The Lord calls the Jews, the Christians, the "Mormons,"
the Gentiles; He calls the Ten Tribes; and He has called us also; God
has called brother Joseph, brother Hyrum, and brother Brigham, and His
Apostles, and the Elders who hold the Priesthood in this age, and He
calls the people of America and of Europe, and the whole human family.
Some He calls by His angels, and by His own voice out of the heavens.
In this way He called Joseph and his associates, and revealed to them
the fulness of the Gospel, put upon them the powers of the eternal
Priesthood, after the same order as Himself, and told them to go forth
and call others to assist them.
They did so, and others obeyed the Gospel; they laid their hands upon
them, after they had baptized them and confirmed them; and they
ordained them to bear testimony of their calling, and the restoration
of the Gospel in its fulness—that a new call had been made to the
nations of the earth.
And it required another call in our day, for Peter had gone the way of
all the earth, and also his brethren who were his contemporaries; and
the brethren among the Nephites had gone, or had been taken away; and
those holding the authority among the Ten Tribes had gone the way of
all the earth.
And it was this that brought those glad tidings and those messengers
to us; and those were the ones that brought the light of heaven to our
beloved brother Joseph Smith.
Well, if I have been made a high witness of these things, what brought
the truth to me? It was through the ministration of angels, under
whose hands these my brethren have been ordained to the holy
Priesthood, and it brought down with it the blessings of the
everlasting Gospel, for it could not be in the world without a call;
for those who previously held it had gone to another sphere.
The Gospel was revealed to ancient men in different climes and
countries, whenever there were men to be saved, and it was revealed to
modern men, because there were modern men to be saved by it. The
Gospel was to all whom the Lord our God should call, in every age and
country, and but for this call we would have been as blind as bats in
the traditions of our fathers, led away by divers creeds and by the
cunning of men who lie in wait to deceive. Where would we have been if
it had not been for this call? We might have been good men enough,
perhaps, but where would we have been?
The introduction of the Gospel was worthy of an angel, yes, the errand
was worthy of a corps of them—it was worthy of a host of them! It was
worthy of a God! It was an object of importance that called Jesus from
the bosom of his Father in the eternal world. A call was necessary
then; faith was necessary, and faith comes by hearing the word of God;
and how could you have heard it, if nobody had been called to deliver
it? We were in the midst of darkness, and the darkness
comprehended it not. We could see revelations given in other ages, but
we want them in our age; but we wanted a call.
I am aware that some will be thinking of their grandmothers or
grandfathers who died in the middle ages, and who died in hope, as far
as they could get at it. I know they will be querying all the while to
know what has become of them.
Well, it is no matter; it is for us to attend to our own business, and
see to our own salvation; if we do this, we shall have no
condemnation. We do not know but as we progress in righteousness, that
in the provisions made by our great Father, we may have to serve them,
and to do for those good old fathers and mothers of ours, who did see
the light afar off, but could not come at it for want of a call—for
want of a Priesthood, which is without beginning of days—and men
holding the authority of heaven; yes, we may have to do for them what
they have not had the privilege of doing for themselves.
Well, what is the provision? Why did I not just name to you, that this
eternal Priesthood is without beginning of days or end of life, after
the order of the Son of God? Do you suppose that when a man passes
beyond the veil, he is any less a Priest? If angels or men, by the
spirit of prophecy, have laid their hands upon him and ordained him to
an office in the Priesthood of the Son of God, and have given him a
call in the name of the Lord to give salvation to others, do you
suppose that by passing the veil he becomes unordained?
What did Jesus say to the Jews? Says he, "The God of Abraham, Isaac,
and Jacob, is the God you profess to worship; but," says he, "I want
you to understand that He is not the God of the dead, for what glory
would their be in that? But," says he, "He is the God of the living."
He was speaking to the children of Abraham who were dead, as much as
to say that Abraham was living then.
Well, then, when a man holding the eternal Priesthood passes the veil,
he still holds his authority, and his heart is full of affection and
love towards God's creatures, and he is clothed with the power of God,
and he is His Prophet, Apostle, and Elder. It is impossible to keep a
man silent who is filled with the testimony of Jesus. I would as soon
undertake to shut up fire in dry shavings, as to shut up in that man's
heart the good news, for He has his mission, which is to preach the
Gospel to those that were and are in darkness.
The good old fathers and mothers who had not the privileges and
blessings of the Gospel—for instance—go to deliver your message to
them, that they may come to the light of truth, and be saved.
The Apostle, when addressing the Saints, says, "But ye have obeyed
from the heart, that form of doctrine which was delivered to you.
Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of
righteousness." Rom. vi. 17 and 18.
There was the freedom of obedience to that form of doctrine delivered
to them. Obedience to that form of doctrine made them free, but it did
not prevent them from acting as men, in a temporal point of view.
The Apostle also speaks of passing from death unto life, because they
loved the brethren. Passing the veil does not alter a man; it
certainly takes him from the eyes of flesh, but the capacity, the
intelligence, the thinking powers, are all alive and quick; and if
they hear the Gospel, they will be glad, and the promises are made to
them, and they will rejoice in them.
Let a man pass the veil with the everlasting Priesthood, having
magnified it to the day of his death, and you cannot get it
off him; it will remain with him in the world of spirits; and when he
wakes up in that world among the spirits, he has that power, and that
obligation on him, that if he can find a person worthy of salvation,
why, as soon as he ascertains that, and he remembers what he may teach
and who he may teach, he then discovers that he has got a mission, and
that mission is to those souls who had not the privilege which we have
in this world, that they may be partakers of the Gospel as well as we.
And herein, when fully carried out, are the keys of the "baptism for
the dead," and the salvation of those not on the earth, a subject into
which I need not now enter, although it is among the first principles
of salvation; but they are so lengthy that we cannot dwell upon them
all at one time.
But suffice it to say, that when the Lord made provision that there
should be one name by which man should be saved; and when He planned
glad tidings of great joy to go over the islands and continents, and
to the four quarters of the earth, He also remembered the spirits in
prison, and He made provision wide as eternity, that it might reach
the case of "every creature," under every circumstance that could
arise within the reach of mercy.
He so ordered it, that "all manner of sins and blasphemies, in due
time, might be forgiven, except that which could not be justly
forgiven in this world, nor in that which is to come."
The plan was so devised that every man might have repentance and
remission of sins, and the gift of the Holy Ghost, in his time and in
his place, if he would; but if he would not, very well then, he might
do as he pleased, whether in this world or any other, according to the
clear freedom that he lives under.
You know you cannot compel one of the dumb animals to drink; you can
lead him to the water, direct his attention to the clear, crystal,
pure stream, but still he may die of thirst. And men may die because
they will not leave off their sins, and lay hold of the cross; and if
they will die of thirst, and will not lay hold of the salvation
offered by a bleeding Savior, they may die the death of the wicked.
And if, because they will not give up their freedom to do right, they
can go; they will die to all eternity, and never be compelled to obey
Well, friends, here is the Gospel; and where is the man's heart so
hard that he will not see and embrace it? A man must be hardened in
wickedness, that will not abide the law of the Gospel. And that
portion of you who have not obeyed, my invitation is to you all; and
all of you in the Church, who have not obeyed the Gospel in its
fulness, see that you obey it in its fulness; I mean, to every day,
attend to the repentance part of it—the leaving off part—forsaking
your evils—the conversion part, and bring forth fruits suited to a new
I will have to be judged for my preaching, and you for your hearing. I
shall be pretty careful for myself; I can do that, I think. I shall
look into things, prepare my mind to discern between the right and the
wrong; otherwise I might neglect; and it will keep a man pretty busy
to repent and bring forth fruits for a new life. There will be a good
deal of watching and praying, and he will have to be pretty careful to
live so as to get the Holy Spirit, so that it will not leave him, and
he will be, without it, like a fish out of water, or like a person in
hot weather destitute of pure air. If he once loses the Spirit, after
having received it, it will keep him pretty busy to get it again.
That repentance, and that burial in the name of the risen Jesus, wants a good deal of humility and perseverance; for there is the old
man with his deeds to put off, and lay aside, and to walk a new life.
It does not only mean something, but it is shown forth in the actions
of the man. Well won't that keep a man pretty busy? I think it will in
such a world as this. Well, in this sense of the word the Saints are
called upon to obey the Gospel and repent, all the while; but we talk
of dying unto sin and of walking in newness of life. The dying unto
sin and rising in the new life, and the baptism were to be for a
moment, but the stream that flows from obedience is perpetual.
Well, those out of the Church are certainly called upon to obey the
Gospel; and when people are careless and indifferent respecting their
duties, then it is that wicked people rise up amongst us, and we are
then called upon to repent and obey the Gospel. I will clear my
garments, as far as one day will do it, before I sit down. The little
children are called upon to obey the Gospel, such as are capable of
being taught, and they ought to be taught by their parents, so that
they may understand it by the time they are eight years of age. Then
they are called upon to repent, to understand and bring forth the
fruits meet for the kingdom of God, and be buried in the likeness of
death as Jesus was, and then leave off all their foolish and sinful
ways, and rise out of their watery grave, understanding that Jesus
rose again from the dead—from his grave, and knowing this they should
then take up their cross. This is a figure to show us that then
commences a new life.
Now you folks that have been brought up in the Gospel, in the light of
heaven, but have been careless or wicked, rise up and obey the Gospel,
and don't you be baptized without you repent, for all you hear of the
Gos pel and attend to, unless you are as humble as a little child, it
won't do you any good, and remember that it is through the name, and
the atoning blood of Jesus Christ, that you can have remission of
sins, through the ordinance of baptism which represents the burial.
And those people that have not been brought up within this call and
influence, I say, come and obey it and do not call yourselves
outsiders and aliens, but fellow heirs to the promises made to
Abraham, and which were established by him and given to him for an
You may suppose that it was a part of the law given to Moses, and
therefore done away in Christ. Let me tell you that the everlasting
covenant made with Abraham, and mentioned in the Scriptures, was made
four hundred and fifty years before the law was thundered from Mount
Sinai. Separate and apart from the Gospel, the law was given to Moses,
but not to disannul that covenant, and when the Lord Jesus Christ came
he never disannulled it, but commanded his Apostles to preach it. It is
much older than the law, for it applied before Moses was born and also
afterwards, and all we have to do is to come into it, and be faithful
as Abraham was faithful, and then we shall become sons, and if sons,
the sons of Abraham, and if daughters, the daughters of Sarah, because
we have embraced the same Gospel and principles. And then when we get
into heaven with Rachel and Leah, they will not be ashamed of us, and
what is more we will not be ashamed of them. Then we shall be hail
fellows well met, and we shall sit down in the kingdom of God, and go
no more out forever. "And many will come from the east and from the
west, and will sit down in the kingdom of God," and unless we are
faithful we shall be shut out. Therefore I wish you to understand that the promises, that are special, will not apply to us,
and where they go we cannot come, except by adoption.
May the Lord bless you. Amen.
I like preaching the Gospel this morning. Before I came here I
thought, what shall I say if they call on me to speak today? And the
thought came into my mind, I will preach the Gospel, and the moment I
came brother Kimball said, "Brother Parley, come preach the Gospel to
us;" I replied, "That is just what I was thinking of."
- Parley P. Pratt