I feel very thankful to my Father and my God in regard to the two
handcart companies that have just come in, led by brothers Ellsworth
I went out with brother Brigham to meet those companies, and when
within a mile and a half of the foot of the Little Mountain we left
the company that was with us, and drove on until we met Captain
Ellsworth's company. I did not shed any tears, though I could have
done so, but they would have been tears of joy; my heart was so full
that it was impossible for a tear to pass it; that is the way I felt.
Why did I have those feelings? Was it because the company were on
foot, dusty, and pulling handcarts? No, for I was aware that they had
come into these valleys easier than most, if not all, other companies.
Their task was light in comparison with that of the pioneers in 1847,
for they had to build bridges, cross deep and wide rivers upon rafts,
and make hundreds of miles of road, digging up and throwing out stones
and cutting down trees and thick brush.
Brother Mills mentioned in his song, that crossing the Plains with
handcarts was one of the greatest events that ever transpired in this
Church. I will admit that it is an important event, successfully
testing another method for gathering Israel, but its importance is
small in comparison with the visitation of the angel of God to the
Prophet Joseph, and with the reception of the sacred records from the
hand of Moroni at the hill Cumorah.
How does it compare with the vision that Joseph and others had, when
they went into a cave in the hill Cumorah, and saw more records than
ten men could carry? There were books piled up on tables, book upon
book. Those records this people will yet have, if they accept of the
Book of Mormon and observe its precepts, and keep the commandments.
Again, how does it contrast with Joseph's being sent forth with his
brethren to search out a location in Jackson County, where the New
Jerusalem will be built, where our Father and our God planted the
first garden on this earth, and where the New Jerusalem will come to
when it comes down from heaven?
I mention these few things by way of contrast with the
handcart operation; they are events that I have heard Joseph speak
of, time and time again.
There will not one soul of you go to build up that holy city in
Jackson County until you learn to keep the commandments of God, and
listen to the counsel of brother Brigham and his counselors, of the
Twelve Apostles, of the Bishops, and of every officer in the Church of
God; until you are willing to keep what we call the celestial law.
What is the celestial law? A great many of you think that you have not
come to it, but the fundamental principles of "Mormonism," faith in
Jesus Christ, repentance for sins, and baptism for their remission,
which is the door into the kingdom of God, are the first letters of
the alphabet of the celestial law; and if you turn away from those
principles, you turn away from everything that your salvation depends
There is a reformation proposed; it has already commenced in the
north, and the people there are repenting, that is, they say they
repent; and many have gone forward and been baptized for the remission
of their sins.
But, brethren and sisters, you may go forward and be baptized, and say
you repent, and receive the laying on of hands, and if you do not
repent and lay aside your wickedness, you will go to hell. I tell you
that there is nothing that will turn away the wrath of God, and the
chastenings that are to come on this people, if they do not repent
indeed; now mark my words.
There has been too much said here, by brother Brigham and his
brethren, to fall to the ground unnoticed, and you must observe every
word of it.
I am very thankful that so many of the brethren have come in with
handcarts; my soul rejoiced, my heart was filled and grew as big as a
two-bushel basket. Two companies have come through safe and sound. Is
this the end of it? No; there will be millions on millions that will
come much in the same way, only they will not have handcarts, for
they will take their bundles under their arms, and their children on
their backs, and under their arms, and flee; and Zion's people will
have to send out relief to them, for they will come when the judgments
come on the nations. And you will find that judgments will be more
sore upon this people, if they do not repent and lay aside their pride
and their animosities, their quarrelling and contentions, their
disputations among themselves.
Those that have come in with the handcarts may wonder how this can
be, for doubtless many of them thought that they were coming to where
it was all peace and harmony, and so remain forever. So it would,
were it not for the wicked ones that come here. You who come with the
handcarts have brought nobody here but yourselves, and probably, as
brother Ellsworth said, there are as good people among his company as
ever were on the earth, according to their knowledge; and then he said
there were some of the worst. I do not doubt it, for he never stopped
to select them, but he brought all that happened to be in the net, and
there were several kinds, I suppose.
Any man or woman that has got the Spirit of the Lord, may know that
God is with those missionaries who have come in with these companies,
and they have made a character for themselves that will live forever,
and they will live forever; and God bless them forever, and they
shall be blessed forever. And when brother Brigham, and Heber, and
Jedediah, and the Twelve Apostles go through the straight gate into
the kingdom, they shall go with us.
Your face looks good to me, brother McArthur; I sat beside you
today, and it warmed my heart clear through. I have known him from
his boyhood, and so I have the others. And Joseph A. Young, and
William H. Kimball, they know nothing but "Mormonism;" they were born
in it. They could not fully discern the difference until they went on
a mission to the lower world, where they were under the necessity of
depending upon their God, and now they know that God lives, that
"Mormonism" is true, that Brigham Young is a Prophet of God, and that
Joseph Smith was a Prophet.
No man or woman can have the spirit of Prophecy, and at the same time
do evil and speak against their brethren; and you will find that man
or that woman barren and unfruitful in the knowledge of God, and
filled with disputations.
When you hear false statements from disaffected characters, do not
circulate them; do not send them back to England, France, &c., to
prevent those from coming here that otherwise would come. The Saints
will gather, and handcart companies will become common; there will be
more of them than there will be of ox or mule trains.
If brother Brigham should say to me, next spring, go back and bring up
a handcart company, I am ready to do so. I can do it with less
fatigue than the labor I perform every day of my life. Will twenty or
twenty-five miles daily travel excuse me? No. I am never still, never
idle, and I never expect to be, in heaven nor on earth.
I have often told you that all my lazy hairs were gone; and I have
often told the young Elders, to encourage them, that the first mission
I took, after I was ordained one of the Twelve, was through New
England and into Nova Scotia, 1,500 miles travel on foot with my valise
on my back. Soon after I started I found that I was rather unlearned,
though I knew that before, but I knew it better after I started.
I began to study the Scriptures, as brother McArthur did, and I had so
little knowledge that the exercise of study began to swell my head and
open my pores insomuch that the hairs dropped out; and if you will let
your minds expand as mine did you will have no hair on your heads. I
expected to lose all my hair, and my head too; but I am alive and in
the house of Israel; and I expect to live to see this people prosper,
the house of Israel gathered, and scattered Israel connected with this
people; and we will bring about the purposes of God. My body may fail,
but my spirit will never die, nor will the spirit of any good
"Mormon." Let us "live our religion."
I presume there were as many devils after those handcart companies as
ever followed any company of Saints that ever left the States, and
their object was to defeat them in this attempt, but they have not
been permitted to do it.
The Elders that go forth and preach the Gospel will have to lead the
handcart companies over the Plains, and learn to go on foot. Am I not
glad? Yes, I rejoice exceedingly. I have prayed for those companies
night and day, and I never was more pleased to see any persons than I
was to see those brethren and sisters, and the Elders that have
brought them here. I baptized several of them eighteen years ago in
Chatburn and Downham, England, and I thank God that they have come
here. It proves that they were good Saints, to stand so long in that
wicked country, and sustain "Mormonism" eighteen or nineteen years.
In Tithebarn I stood upon a barrel and preached, and a woman came and took hold of my coat; I said, "What is wanted, lady?" "I want
to be baptized." I jumped from the barrel and baptized twenty-five
persons, some of whom are here. That was nineteen years ago, when
"Mormonism" was introduced into that nation; I went over about the
time when the Church was broken up in Kirtland, and when there were
not twenty persons on the earth that would declare that Joseph Smith
was a Prophet of God.
When we returned from England, we could report from two thousand to
twenty-five hundred Saints added to the Church, after being away about
eleven months. When we got back the Church was all driven from Ohio,
and we went to Missouri. I arrived there in time to be sick three
weeks; and then the mob prevailed and we were driven out.
And as fast as we could get well and get out of a place, I was taken
sick and driven again. That is the way I have been kept going, and I
expect to be kept going in that way, if this people do not do right
and keep the commandments of God.
"Live your religion," keep the commandments of God, listen to the
servants of God, and you will stand forever, and the world cannot
Last Sabbath I referred to the conduct of the ancient inhabitants of
this continent, and the dealings of the Lord with them; and it is the
only way in which those who profess to be the people of God are kept
humble. When they prospered in riches they were lifted up, and God
sent famine and pestilence among them, and sickness and death, until
He pretty much destroyed the nation, until they humbled themselves;
and I wish to apply that experience to this people, and they will feel
it if they do not repent.
Your ears may hear my words, but do my words enter your hearts? Will
you repent sincerely before God? If you will, we never will be
afflicted, no, never. I do not know of any way for this people to
appreciate their blessings, only by affliction and by being brought
into sorrow. And if you do not repent, the little we saw night before
last, when the handcart train came in, will be no comparison to the
straitened circumstances you will be brought into; and people will
look upon us and weep to see the suffering and affliction that we will
be brought into.
Many of this people have broken their covenants by speaking evil of
one another, by speaking against the servants of God, and by finding
fault with the plurality of wives and trying to sink it out of
existence. But you cannot do that, for God will cut you off and raise
up another people that will carry out His purposes in righteousness,
unless you walk up to the line of your duty. On the one hand there is
glory and exaltation; and on the other no tongue can express the
suffering and affliction this people will pass through, if they do not
Brother Brigham is placed here, and he has chosen men to stand by him,
holding the keys of life and salvation to this people; and we shall
bear off the kingdom, even though there be but few that will stick to
us. They cannot be shaken, for God says everything that can be shaken
shall be shaken, and that which cannot be shaken shall remain.
Scores will shake, and the earth will be caused to shake, and the
thunders will roll and the lightnings flash, and the desolation of
famine and pestilence awaits the world and its inhabitants.
How many times I have told you to take care of your grain and not
waste it, for before another harvest many of you will see such times
as you did the past season. Some do not believe this, but a
great many do, and they are laying up their grain. Much wheat has
already been sold here, by those who were begging last year, for a
dollar a bushel, and from that to a dollar and a quarter, and a dollar
and a half. I had grain enough, last spring, to have sustained my
family and lasted me another year, though it takes over a thousand
bushels to feed my family one year; but I have fed it all out, and now
I have not over two hundred bushels, and I shall have to buy eight
hundred more to feed my family till another harvest.
I am going to live my religion; and if need be I will sell my
furniture, my beds and bedding, and everything I have, for grain. I
look for hard times, and this year is not going to end them.
There are from eight to ten thousand people coming here this year, and
scarcely a man in all the valleys of the mountains has any old wheat;
nearly all had to commence consuming the present crops; just look at
it, and reflect.
I have not stopped rationing my family to half a pound a day, and do
not mean to this year: though I would have added a little more to it
if they had needed it, but they do not. Many are wasting their grain,
and feeding it to their horses and cattle; and others are lavish with
it. Do not lay out your means, your wheat, and your substance, for
that which profiteth nothing, for ribbons, gewgaws, jewelry,
For God's sake cease this course; for your own sake, for my sake, and
for Christ's sake, let us go to work and make our own shoes from our
own leather, and make and produce all we need, and use it wisely.
If I would suffer it, I should have to lay out $500 yearly for morocco
shoes and bootees at from three to five dollars a pair, for the women
could not wash without putting on a pair of fine shoes. How many times
have I told you these things? And brother Brigham has told you. They
are on my mind all the time, and I cannot get them off, but I must
keep telling you until my mission is complete; I cannot help it. I
foresee the consequences of an unwise course, as plainly as I see your
Let the men who are on the Public Works, if they get a pound of
breadstuff a day, lay up one-third of it; I tell the men who are laboring
for me to lay up their flour for a rainy day. Why? Because when I get
my grainery full, I do not want to deal it out to you; for harder
times are coming by and by, and there is going to be an awful famine.
And if we do right, we shall take a course to lay up our surplus
grain, and labor to cultivate the earth six years, and let it rest
during the seventh. Brother Brigham taught us that when we first came
into these valleys, and brother Woodruff has his prediction written,
and by and by it will come out in the History.
I want you to repent and lay up wheat, corn, and everything else you
save. I have handed out bread to some of the most industrious and
saving people, until I have handed out every ounce, and had to borrow
for six weeks. Why did I do it? That I might answer a good conscience
before God and man, and not come under condemnation. Will I do it
another year? If I do, you shall pay for it. Why? Because it will not
answer for us to be dilatory and neglect our duties, when the
servants of God are teaching us from Sabbath to Sabbath, and from day
I hope that the Bishops will step forth and get places for those who
have just come in; and I hope that the people will employ them, and
not let them lay in their tents, for if they stay there idle they will
become sick; but if you set them to work they will not be
I will not tell you to do a thing that I will not do myself. I have
spoken to a man that brother Ellsworth gave me an introduction to, and
to his wife and child, and to his wife's mother, who is seventy-six
years of age, and I am going to provide them a home and set them to
work. I told the man that he need not make any calculation on
receiving wages, for if I took care of them all, I thought I should
have plenty to do to feed them and make them comfortable through the
winter; for the winter is at hand, and it probably will be a hard one.
I will use them as well as I was used when I was in England. I spent
seven months in London, and established a Church there, brother
Woodruff was with me, and did not do it with their purse and scrip.
That is now a great Conference; it is the greatest Conference in the
world, except this. Listen to what you hear, and tell your neighbors
of it; and when it comes spring, do not have it to say that you are
without bread. When you get your full rations, save one-third of them.
I feel for this people; my heart is good towards them; I feel kind and
generous, and I do all that I can to do them good. But I cannot do
everything, and set everybody to work. Every one of you extend the
hand of kindness and benevolence to those that have come with the
handcarts. They have shown their faith by their works, and it made
the tears come out of your eyes to see them, and God bless them
forever and ever; and I pray that not one of them may ever deny the
faith. And I bless every one of you, and everything that is within
the pale of the kingdom of God; and I curse everything that seeks to
pull this people down and destroy them; I say, may the curse of God
descend upon them, that they may go down and become powerless; and
those that speak well of, and administer to Zion, they shall be
blessed forever, and no enemy shall prevail against them from this
time, henceforth and forever, and all who are in favor of this say
amen. [All the congregation said amen.]
- Heber C. Kimball