I have a few words to say concerning one item of doctrine, that I
seldom think of mentioning before a public congregation; I refer to
the doctrine pertaining to raising up a royal Priesthood to the name
of Israel's God, for which purpose the revelation was given to Joseph,
concerning the right of faithful Elders, in taking to themselves more
than one wife. I frequently hear from others that this doctrine is
laughed at and ridiculed; I heard yesterday of its being laughed out
of doors, even jeered and sneered out of a Bishop's house.
I am not personally cognizant of anyone jeering at and deriding this
doctrine; still, I hear that there are some few who are opposed to it.
Once in a while sentiments reach my ears which sound very curious and
strange, and when I hear them, I do really wish that some were
possessed of better sense; I will, therefore, tell you a few things
that you should know. God never introduced the Patriarchal order of
marriage with a view to please man in his carnal desires, nor to
punish females for anything which they had done; but He introduced it
for the express purpose of raising up to His name a royal Priesthood,
a peculiar people. Do we not see the benefit of it? Yes, we have lived
long enough to realize its advantages.
Suppose that I had had the privilege of having only one wife, I should
have had only three sons, for those are all that my first wife bore,
whereas, I now have buried five sons, and have thirteen living.
It is obvious that I could not have been blessed with such a family,
if I had been restricted to one wife, but, by the introduction of this
law, I can be the instrument in preparing tabernacles for those
spirits which have to come in this dispensation. Under this law, I and
my brethren are preparing tabernacles for those spirits which have
been preserved to enter into bodies of honor, and be taught the pure
principles of life and salvation, and those tabernacles will grow up
and become mighty in the kingdom of our God.
I believe that our children will become mighty in faith, be powerful
in defending the truth, and will soon have to take important places in
the great work of this dispensation. They may be rude at present,
yet, you will find within them the true principles of "Mormonism,"
and, when our sons become men, they will be men of God, and be useful
in accomplishing a good work upon the earth.
The spirits which are reserved have to be born into the world, and the
Lord will prepare some way for them to have tabernacles. Spirits must
be born, even if they have to come to brothels for their fleshly
coverings, and many of them will take the lowest and meanest spirit
house that there is in the world, rather than do without, and will
say, "Let me have a tabernacle, that I may have a chance to be
The Lord has instituted this plan for a holy purpose, and not with a
design to afflict or distress the people; hence, an important and
imperative duty is placed upon all holy men and women, and the reward
will follow, for it is said, that the children will add to our honor
It hurts my feelings when I see good men, men who love correct
principles and cling to the counsels of the Church, who have lived
near to God for years and have always been faithful, with not a child
to bear up their names to future generations, and I grieve to reflect
that their names must go into the grave with them.
It would please me to see good men and women have families; I would
like to have righteous men take more wives and raise up holy children.
Some say, "I would do so, but brother Joseph and brother Brigham have
never told me to do it."
This law was never given of the Lord for any but his faithful
children; it is not for the ungodly at all; no man has a right to a
wife, or wives, unless he honors his Priesthood and magnifies his
calling before God.
I foresaw, when Joseph first made known this doctrine, that it would
be a trial, and a source of great care and anxiety to the brethren,
and what of that? We are to gird up our loins and fulfil this, just as
we would any other duty. (High wind and clouds of dust prevented
speaking for several seconds.)
It has been strenuously urged by many, that this doctrine was
introduced through lust, but that is a gross misrepresentation. (A
thick cloud of dust prevented speaking for about two minutes.)
This revelation, which God gave to Joseph, was for the express purpose
of providing a channel for the organization of tabernacles, for those
spirits to occupy who have been reserved to come forth in the kingdom
of God, and that they might not be obliged to take tabernacles out of
the kingdom of God.
We are commanded to overcome all our lustful desires, also our pride,
selfishness, and every evil propensity that pertains to the flesh, to
keep the commandments of God, and all the commandments pertaining to
the holy Priesthood.
It is important that we get a victory over our earthly passions, and
learn to live by the law of God.
I am aware that care and other duties are greatly increased, by the
law which I am remarking upon; this I know by experience, yet though
it adds to our care and labor, we should say, "Not my will, but thine,
O Lord, be done."
As far as my acquaintance extends, the brethren who have entered into
this order, with a pure heart, have enjoyed full as much worldly
prosperity as they did before the Prophet Joseph revealed this holy
law and order to the Latter-day Saints.
The Lord intended that our family cares should be greater; He knew
they would be, yet He is able to bless us in proportion. I know quite
a number of men in this Church who will not take any more women,
because they do not wish to take care of them; a contracted spirit
causes that feeling. I have also known some in my past life, who have
said, that they did not desire to have their wives bear any children,
and some even take measures to prevent it; there are a few such
persons in this Church.
When I see a man in this Church with those feelings, and hear him say,
"I do not wish to enlarge my family, because it will bring care upon
me," I conclude that he has more or less of the old sectarian leaven
about him, and that he does not understand the glory of the celestial
Says one, "How will you explain this to me?" We understand that we are to be made Kings and Priests unto God; now if I be made
the king and lawgiver to my family, and if I have many sons, I shall
become the father of many fathers, for they will have sons, and their
sons will have sons, and so on, from generation to generation, and, in
this way, I may become the father of many fathers, or the king of many
kings. This will constitute every man a prince, king, lord, or
whatever the Father sees fit to confer upon us.
In this way we can become King of kings, and Lord of lords, or Father
of fathers, or Prince of princes, and this is the only course, for
another man is not going to raise up a kingdom for you.
If I did not feel disposed, in my poverty, to enlarge my family and to
build up the kingdom, I could not be acquainted with the difficulties
thereof, neither should I be counted worthy to enjoy the blessings
conferred upon those who are faithful.
This should be the view taken of this matter, by the whole of this
people, and, when a man or woman sees that this principle should be
introduced among the Latter-day Saints, they should cease their
It is not through lust that men and women are to practice this
doctrine, but it is to be observed upon righteous principles; and, if
men and women would pay attention to those instructions, I would
promise, in the name of the Lord, that you would never find them
lustful in their dispositions, and you might watch them as closely as
Plurality of wives is not designed to afflict you nor me, but is
purposed for our exaltation in the kingdoms of God. If any man had
asked me what was my choice when Joseph revealed that doctrine,
provided that it would not diminish my glory, I would have said, "Let
me have but one wife;" not because it is not a great comfort to me to
have children, but if I have not children, I know them not.
Some of these my brethren know what my feelings were at the time
Joseph revealed the doctrine; I was not desirous of shrinking from any
duty, nor of failing in the least to do as I was commanded, but it was
the first time in my life that I had desired the grave, and I could
hardly get over it for a long time. And when I saw a funeral, I felt
to envy the corpse its situation, and to regret that I was not in the
coffin, knowing the toil and labor that my body would have to undergo;
and I have had to examine myself, from that day to this, and watch my
faith, and carefully meditate, lest I should be found desiring the
grave more than I ought to do.
You will probably wonder at this, and that such should have been my
feelings upon this point, but they were even so.
Now if any of you will deny the plurality of wives, and continue to do
so, I promise that you will be damned; and I will go still further and
say, take this revelation, or any other revelation that the Lord has
given, and deny it in your feelings, and I promise that you will be
But the Saints who live their religion will be exalted, for they never
will deny any revelation which the Lord has given or may give, though,
when there is a doctrine coming to them which they cannot comprehend
fully, they may be found saying, "The Lord sendeth this unto me, and I
pray that He will save and preserve me from denying anything which
proceedeth from Him, and give me patience to wait until I can
understand it for myself."
Such persons will never deny, but will allow those subjects which they
do not understand, to remain until the visions of their minds become
open. This is the course which I have invariably pursued, and,
if anything came that I could not understand, I would pray until I
could comprehend it.
Do not reject anything because it is new or strange, and do not sneer
nor jeer at what comes from the Lord, for if we do, we endanger our
salvation. It is given to us, as agents, to choose or refuse, as
brother S. W. Richards has set before you, but we are agents within
limits, if it were not so there would be no law.
There are limits to agency, and to all things and to all beings, and
our agency must not infringe upon that law. A man must choose life or
death, and if he chooses death he will find himself abridged, and that
the agency which is given to him is so bound up that he cannot
exercise it in opposition to the law, without laying himself liable to
be corrected and punished by the Almighty.
A man can dispose of his agency or of his birthright, as did Esau of
old, but when disposed of he cannot again obtain it; consequently, it
behooves us to be careful, and not forfeit the agency that is given to
us. The difference between the righteous and the sinner, eternal life
or death, happiness or misery, is this, to those who are exalted there
are no bounds or limits to their privileges, their blessings have a
continuation, and to their kingdoms, thrones, and dominions,
principalities, and powers there is no end, but they increase through
all eternity; whereas, those who reject the offer, who despise the
proffered mercies of the Lord, and prepare themselves to be banished
from His presence, and to become companions of the devils, have their
agency abridged immediately, and bounds and limits are put to their
The power of the devil is limited; the power of God is unlimited;
therefore let us be cautious how we use our liberty and agency, and be
careful to choose that which is good and right before the Lord, and
then our exaltation is sure.
I now wish to say a few words concerning your meetinghouse. When
brother Geo. A. Smith concluded to make his home here, for a little
while, we thought we would erect an old-fashioned meetinghouse,
believing that it would look so good; and we thought to have a bell
put in the belfry, and I believe that the foundation for such a
building was commenced three years ago.
I was just thinking what a smart people dwell here; three years ago
they threw out a few shovels full of earth, to prepare for a
foundation, and at that the labor ended. I was talking to some of the
brethren about it today, and was wondering, if I were to come here to
live this summer, whether I could not get this meetinghouse built; I
think that I have lightning enough to accomplish it. Tell the people
what I wanted, and they would come with the timber, and the adobies
would be piled up, and the building finished.
But I wish to tell you how it can be done without my coming here, that
is, if you have a man here in whom you have confidence, though I do
not know whether there is a man in this settlement that you have
confidence in, but if there is such a man, you can come out every
Saturday and work at erecting this meetinghouse. Draw together the
sand and lime, the timber and all the other materials, then employ the
masons and carpenters for two or three months, and the house will be
If this had been done you would have had a good meetinghouse, and, at
least, been just as well off as you are now, and I think that you
would have greatly increased the value of your property and been
Has the house stopped because there is not a man here who knows how to do the work, or what is the cause? I think that there
are men here who know how to do all the work. If you wish to know my
mind, I say, haul the materials together, employ men to lay the stone
and adobies, to cut the timber, and to put on the shingles, and if I
were you I would go right to work and do it; and if you will, we will
come and preach to you at the dedication.
Before the commencement of this conference, I ought to have come here
with as many of the Twelve and other brethren as I could have handily
picked up, and to have held prayer meetings for two or three weeks, in
all the Wards of this City; then I think you would have heard
something that you will not now hear.
I do not feel that there is any requirement in this congregation for
fresh teachings, or new revelations; if I am mistaken, all right. I do
not believe that all the brethren pray in their families, or in
secret, and I do not believe that all the women are strict enough in
their families, for the spirit of the Gospel should be as a constant
flowing stream. True, I have not yet heard a man speak here but what
has given you good, yes, the best of teaching, and first-rate
discourses and ideas, and all has been systematical and calculated to
draw us to the line.
Still I hope that you and I will get warmed up, and that the fire of
the Spirit will burn in our hearts so that we may be refreshed.
We will now bring the meeting to a close.