Brethren and Sisters—It is with no ordinary feelings of joy and
thanksgiving that I have the privilege of again standing before you,
in a good degree of health.
I have been absent some five weeks, on a mission through the southern
settlements. Many of you will remember that I had been very low with
sickness previous to my departure, and I thank God this day that I
have, in a great measure, recovered my health and strength.
I have had a good visit among the Saints throughout the south, from
here to Washington county, distance 300 miles. The hot weather,
prevailing south winds, and the dust, rendered our traveling somewhat
disagreeable and fatiguing; nevertheless, I have enjoyed myself well.
The Saints among whom we have labored received us with hospitality,
the best they were capable of; they could have done no better if
angels from heaven had visited them; and I feel to bless them for it.
I will say a word about the crops and the industry of the people
south, as I presume you are all anxious on that subject. I know of no
particular drawback in any large portion of the settlements in the way
of good crops.
They are later in the south than here, the climate being a little
colder; but in every settlement a peculiar spirit of industry
characterizes the Saints; they seem to strain every nerve to put in
crops and to take care of them, and with some few exceptions in small
places, there is every prospect of good crops, good gardens, and good
grain, and I hope, with the blessing of the Lord, that the people in
these distant regions will be able to produce sufficient for
themselves and those who are coming this season, and I think the most
of them will take care of it.
If we do the same, and all the other settlements, we will be
enabled to live, and to enable those of our brethren to live who may
come to us. I found it true, as our President said this spring, that
there was four times the destitution in this city that there was out
When I arrived as far as Nephi, and from that onward south, I heard of
but very little scarcity, but very little want, but they all seemed to
have enough to eat, and occasionally some to spare.
I mention these few things for your comfort, as we are one body and
rejoice in each others welfare.
I would also mention that a good spirit, the spirit of union and
peace, seems generally to prevail so far as I could tell; and as to
myself, I have enjoyed myself well and felt a good portion of the
Spirit during my ministry in the south, and feel to thank my Heavenly
Father for all these things.
I have been led to reflect in viewing the unanimity of the people, and
the extent to which they can endure and suffer for the sake of their
religion. I have been led to reflect upon the power of the Gospel, the
ordinances ministered for this people, and the spirit received in
Some people inquire after miracles, and signs, and wonders; I will
mention one sign, and wonder, and miracle, that I have reflected upon
of late; it is very public, and before the eyes of this people, and
hence I have pleasure in referring to it.
It is this: here are a people congregated in the capacity of civil and
religious governments in the valleys of Utah, made up of almost all
nations and languages, comparatively speaking, or of many nations,
having brought with them a variety of manners and customs, as well as
many peculiar opinions and nationalities. And besides these,
religiously speaking, they have been gathered out from almost every
sect and creed under heaven or at least from many of them. A miracle,
a sign, and a wonder, is this!
How came this? When found among all nations and languages, and
religions, I say how came they to be made one, not that all are
perfect in one, but so far as they are? And if anybody doubts this
being a miracle, a sign or wonder, what we ask of them is, to produce
the same, if they can.
If anybody needs a miracle, this is one for them. Has any person, or
I might say, have all persons power upon natural principles, by their
own wisdom and power, to take people of different nations, and
languages, and tongues, habits, customs, and religions, and unite them
in one common band, civil and religious, and then govern them in a
great measure as a unit? I ask, have they the power? I would like to
see it tried somewhere, either in Kansas or in some part of the United
States, or elsewhere.
If the union which exists in Utah cannot be effected by others, and
elsewhere, with similar materials, then all must acknowledge a
miraculous power existing and operating in these valleys.
A great many throughout the nations, learned men, philosophers,
rulers—those that have studied the science of government, would fain
inquire by what means or power this miracle is accomplished over so
many conflicting elements.
Well, suppose we touch upon a little key, or give a clue to it, for
the benefit of those to whom it was and is a mystery, and also for our
Then, in the first place, we say that it is by the power and keys of
the holy Priesthood, and the ordinances and spirit thereof.
This people, composed of diverse nations, tongues, habits and
religions, have all been baptized by one Spirit into one body. So far
as they have, in all honesty repented, and been baptized, they have
all received a portion of the Holy Spirit of promise by the laying on
of the hands of the Priesthood, in the name of Jesus, and they have
one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one Holy Spirit, and one God and
Father of all. This is as it was said by the ancient writer in
relation to the ancient Saints.
Is there power in the Priesthood as there was anciently? We say the
Priesthood has been restored by the ministration of angels to Joseph
Smith and others, and confirmed and ordained upon the heads of others
by that same authority, by him and the word of the Lord through him.
Is there power in it? If not, how came this people to be concentrated
and united, after being gathered out of many jarring elements, from
the United States and from Europe?
Although they are very far from being perfect in this union, yet we
say that by the power of the ordinances and by the power of the
Spirit that accompanies the ordinances, this great miracle has been
done in the name of Jesus Christ.
We take, for instance, a Presbyterian Methodist, a Quaker, a Baptist,
and an Infidel, as they are called, or whatever name, community, or
creed they belong to, and on their profession of reformation and faith
in Jesus Christ, we bury them in the water, in the name of Jesus, for
the remission of sins; they rise again out of the water in newness of
life, that is, with a fixed purpose of leading a new life; and after
receiving instruction at the hands of the authorized Priesthood, we
lay our hands upon them, accompanied with prayer in the name of Jesus
Christ, for the gift of the Holy Ghost; and if they do not receive
that Spirit, you may know that they have not obeyed this Gospel from
Was there any power in the ordinances anciently, in the ordinances of
God administered by proper authority? And is there power now? Let us
look at it for a few moments.
Moses, being about to depart from his great responsibilities in the
midst of Israel, laid his hands upon Joshua by the word of the Lord.
After this Joshua was filled with the Spirit of God and of his
calling. His works in leading Israel into the promised land, and there
defending them and settling them according to the word of the Lord, go
to show that he not only received a form under the hands of Moses, but
he actually received the power and spirit of that form.
Saul, king of Israel, was anointed by the direction of the word of the
Lord under the hands of a Prophet; literally anointed when he was a
young man, to be king over Israel. He was a poor, inexperienced young
man, and probably knew no more of inspiration than other youths. But
soon after his anointing, the Philistines made war against Israel, and
would not make peace only on condition that every man of Israel would
consent to lose his right eye. Saul, on hearing of these humiliating
proposals, felt the power of his anointing. The Spirit of God came
mightily upon him; he raised an army, conquered the haughty foe, and
saved his country.
But by and by this man, Saul, so far transgressed, that the word of
the Lord came to him through Samuel, the same that anointed him, and
said, the kingdom is rent from thee, and given to thy neighbor, who is
better than thou art.
And after that he did not have the Spirit of the Lord to guide him,
and shortly after that he got into trouble with the Philistines, whose
armies were placed in battle array against him.
I have mentioned these circumstances to show you that there is power
in the ordinances of the Almighty, when administered by authority.
There are a great many other circumstances, but I name these few to
illustrate the question under consideration.
Well, was there power in the ordinances of the kingdom, when
administered by Joseph Smith? We say there was power in all that he
Well, he ordained men to be Apostles, and Prophets, and Elders, and
they went forth to administer in the sacred ordinances of the house of
God; and I ask, is there power in their administration?
If not, how came these Americans here, and Britons, and Irishmen, and
Scotchmen, and Danes, and French, and more nations than my memory will
serve to name, coming together as a unit, scarcely anything occurring
to mar their happiness?
You do not hear a man say that he is a Dane, or an Englishman, or of
any peculiar nation, but losing his nationality, and all blending into
one mass, with a united heart to build up the kingdom of our God, and
to become one great nation, Americans to be sure, if you wish to call
it so, as it is in that country.
How came this to be, if there is no power in the modern Priesthood and
in the modern ordinances? As I said before, if anybody disputes this
power being with us, will they set us a similar example?
Leave out their nationalities, and the variety of jarring politics,
and our political predispositions and prejudices; leave that out of
consideration, and I just come to the advantages and disadvantages in
our traditions that have come down from our fathers, and are now held
sacred by us, so much so, that I heard a person who was brought up in
New Hampshire say that he grew up in the world among all the jarring
of politics, and to use his own language, "I was brought up to believe
that my father was right in both religion and politics." "What was
he," said I? "O, he was a Whig in politics, and a Congregationalist in
religion;" and, says he, "I was so glad that my father was so lucky in
both as to be right." "What is the proof," says I, "that your father
was right in both?" "Why, the proof is, he was my father, and
therefore he must be right, in both his religion and politics, for my
father could not be wrong!"
Well, fortunately or unfortunately, we have all had fathers; and, of
course, because they are our fathers, they must be right in politics
and religion, no matter which it is. Such has been our strong
prejudice with reference to our fathers.
Well, now, how do we stand now: have we got rid of all this? How came
we to have one faith, one Lord, and one baptism, and one Holy Spirit,
as it is in a great measure this day? Probably there my be few
exceptions, persons who have got the opposite spirit; like Saul when
the Lord rejected him through rebellion. How came this to be, as I
said before, when we turn from our errors and sins as well as we can?
How is this? We came forward, when we see our sins, with honest
hearts, determined to do right, believing in Jesus Christ; then some
Apostle or Elder that had received the Priesthood through the
ministration of Joseph Smith, or that grew out of his administration,
took us and buried us in the waters of baptism in the name of Jesus
Christ, for the remission of sins, and we then resolved to lead a new
It expresses a covenant, whether they said it in so many words or not
—they promised to lead a new life. Then just as soon as they could re ceive sufficient instruction, the Elders laid their hands
upon them in the name of Jesus Christ, and they could receive their
blessings; and the Elders confirmed upon them the gift of the Holy
Ghost, and the power thereof. And, by and by, many others were
ordained to holy and important callings, and were anointed to take
part in the work, and partake of the power of the holy Priesthood
after the order of the Son of God, and it is this power that unites us
together in one. The world do not believe this I am aware.
It is really so long since I was among the sectarian world, that I had
almost forgotten that I was a sectarian of any kind, and that I was a
political partisan of any kind. I have been so long removed from those
scenes which characterize the numerous parties of the world, I had
almost forgotten whether there was a whig or democratic party, or
whether parties existed; I say, I had almost forgotten whether I had
ever belonged to any sect or party, and I had almost forgotten my
nationality. It is true that I do not speak a different language from
what I did in the world, but I had almost forgotten that, but I feel
that I am with the Priesthood, and with all good men, I am one with
them, to be used nationally, politically, morally, and religiously, to
hold fast our faith, to build up a righteous people from every
country, to preach and establish righteousness, and union, and peace,
to all people in every country, for the benefit of all men that will
obey it, without regard to persons.
Well now, this, so far as I can tell it in a few words, is the great
secret, or one secret out of the great mystery, or rather one mystery
out of another, which exists in the minds of the people, that do not
know it. How is it that this people, that are come up of so many
parties, and tongues, and people, and creeds, are measurably become
one in faith and spirit? And what is further to increase in them this
oneness? Being careful to live to our righteous religion, and to do
right continually so that we become one in heart and mind. We are
required to overcome our faults, and be careful to increase in and
learn the truth, and put in practice, and to pray for the Holy Spirit
of promise, and to be careful to keep the commandments of God, careful
to do nothing to our neighbors, but what I would have them do under
the like circumstances and be perfectly willing for them to do to me.
By adopting these means we are sure to progress in that oneness, and
in that union nationally, religiously, politically and socially, and
in every way to learn to cooperate, and to be more and more in the
spirit, one in heart and in mind. Well, then, a great reward lies
before us upon conditions of obedience, but there is still a mighty
work to be done. I have taken but little praise for what has been
done, though much has been done, still much remains to be done, not
only to convert the honest in heart, but to build up cities, and make
farms. We have much to do with each other in order to bring us into
union more perfectly as families and communities, as we will have to
form ourselves and be prepared to form a more intimate union with the
powers that have gone before us, even the powers of heaven, because
there is a work to be done, and we have been called to help to do it.
We are called upon not to do it alone, for the Prophets that have gone
before us, that have fallen martyrs to it, are to help in the work.
We have never said that we would do it alone; but rather that the
powers of the heavens that have gone before us and been perfected in
the same Gospel, were engaged in it, and wish to help to do it.
Nothing short of this fond union of the Saints who have gone before us
with the living Latter-day Saints, will ever bring about and complete
that great restoration that we have all been looking for, and
believing in, that all the Prophets have prophesied of since the world
began; nothing short of these united powers can possibly attain to
that which is designed, hence they in the other world will attend to
their part of it; they are doing it now. But by and by they will have
to be ministers on the earth, and to the Latter-day Saints, and we
have to be prepared to have the veil rent, and to be united more
perfectly in our cooperations with them, and they with us; and we
should endeavor to do our part of the work, to prepare for that which
is to come, progressively, and be ready to enter into the kingdom of
righteousness and truth, act so that we can be worthy and ready to be
wrought upon by the Spirit of God.
We should prepare for the ministration and society of the pure in
heart, for they are preparing to meet the people down here. And I know
not but that some among us are looking for the Lord Jesus Christ to
appear very shortly with all his Saints and angels publicly. Well, I
am looking for it too, but it is not the first thing that I am looking
for, but I am looking for it when all things are ready, and when all
things are prepared, so that when coming he will not break one jot nor
tittle of the prophecies, but they will all be fulfilled in their time
and place. If the coming of the Savior is the next thing in order, I
consider that it would become all of us, so imperfect, so unprepared,
so far from being perfectly united in righteousness, to become
sanctified and made ready for his appearance. There will be people on
the earth that will be ready when he does come, and how will it be at
his coming? There are a great many that stand between us and Jesus
Christ, and who stand in more immediate relationship to this work, and
also to us. There is our leader, and many others that are leaders, and
who hold the keys, and who have gone before us; and they stand between
us and Jesus Christ, they hold keys between him and us, and then again
there are others of the former-day Saints, such as Peter, James and
John, and they hold keys which are ahead of our leaders that are dead,
our Prophet, for instance? Yes, they hold keys between him and Jesus.
Here we all see that we have only got a portion of the Priesthood and
the keys, the others are in the possession of the congregations of
Saints in the heavens, and before we are prepared to be ministered to
by them and enjoy their society, we must alter considerably. Some say,
why, the coming of the Lord is nearer than some of you suppose. Well,
I would not wonder if it was further off than some of you suppose,
from the fact of the things that have to be accomplished.
If we were to say that before the coming of the Lord many great things
await us, and that we are to be prepared for all the changes which
have to take place, and that they are nearer at hand than we would
imagine them to be; and if we should say that that event was much
nearer than many of us suppose, and that we have already received many
warnings, most certainly we ought to prepare to receive greater
covenants, to become more closely acquainted with the Spirit of God,
to be more perfect in union, to know how to act more in concert, to
overcome our weaknesses and errors of judgment, and ignorance and
follies, learn to be happy and to come up to the mark, and be
sanctified before the Lord, that peradventure some portion of the keys
and powers from the eternal world may be more fully bestowed upon us,
that we may be prepared by gradual experience from time to
time, that we may progress in the science and plan of salvation, and
be prepared for the greater things that await us.
I will not complain of our deficiencies for we have to be satisfied
with the things which we have accomplished, but we have full
confidence in the union and power that attends this work. It is for us
to prepare ourselves and to repent of all our errors, and follow our
leaders until we reach ce lestial glory. The powers of heaven are
neither ashamed nor afraid, but they have confidence in us and will
dwell in our society. There are a great many keys, and manifestations,
and preparations, and associations between us and that great and
perfect day, when the Lord will come in the power of heaven.
Let us all do our duty, and be faithful to our covenants. May God
bless you all. Amen.
- Parley P. Pratt