Having the privilege of speaking to you this morning, I particularly
need the aid and assistance of the Spirit of the Lord, for I have been
laboring under indisposition for several weeks, and do not possess
that physical force which is natural to me, therefore I need more of
the divine influence of the Holy Spirit.
We have professedly gathered ourselves to this land to serve our God;
we feel that we have found the pearl of great price. It matters but
little in relation to the land that we dwell upon, or the special
comforts of life that we may have found and now enjoy in this land, so
we but have within us that eternal treasure that warrants us in
believing that we please our God, and that He approbates our course.
I am aware that the Christians would think inasmuch as they have
circulated the Bible among the nations of the earth, that they have
thereby done much towards spreading the Gospel and establishing the
kingdom of God on the earth. But you, as reasonable men, would
consider that I reasoned very badly, were I to say that the United
States by circulating the Constitution among the various governments
on the earth, had thereby established so many republics.
In order for the kingdom of God to have an existence upon the earth,
we naturally need the radiant light of heaven, we need the divine
sanction of the Almighty, and He will set a man to properly organize
His people, and execute those things which He designs to have carried
out. Some may ask, why the Latter-day Saints rejoice? I answer, we
rejoice not alone in that we have a claim superior to the claims of
others; not alone in that we have houses and lands, and power and
authority, and the comforts of this city, but in the privileges given
us by the Almighty, through faith and obedience, for being more
happy than other people. We have not the facilities that the people of
many other cities and parts of the earth possess; indeed, we are
deprived of many of the comforts and luxuries which many enjoy in
other climes. But suppose we are, did we come here for them? Were they
the grand object of our leaving our native soil? Was this the view we
had when we left Europe, the United States, or any other part of the
earth, or the islands of the sea? Did we come here to obtain a better
farm, to obtain the luxuries of life? If this was the object of our
pursuit, we have certainly been mistaken.
It is possible that some may have been tempted, as they were in the
days of Jesus, by the loaves and fishes; but those who understood the
truth, and comprehended and loved virtue, had no such idea. They
understood that the Gospel of the Son of God, proclaimed and taught by
the proper officers, had been brought unto them, and that the scepter
of life had been held out to them. And may we not, as Saints of God,
rejoice that we have found and received the truth, that we have tasted
of its sweetness, and that it has made us happy.
It matters not whether you dwell in Great Salt Lake City, or in the
different settlements of this territory, or whether you are associated
with those that are following some special branch of mechanism, if you
have the principles of eternal life, the gift of the Holy Ghost, the
will of the Lord, the power of God within you, for then you will be
contented. On the other hand, if you have not the principles that come
from Heaven, though you may have rich soil to cultivate, and splendid
houses to dwell in, though you may be connected with wealthy and
influential families, and possess choice localities in a powerful
state, you are not happy, you are not contented, for there is a vacuum
where the principles of life should be, and gold and silver will not
fill it and satisfy the cravings within.
Some people act as if they looked for this city to be like the various
other cities of the earth, and if they do not prosper as well as they
think they ought, they turn round upon us as though this world's goods
were the primary object of their coming here. I admit that Heaven has
seen fit to give us many of the comforts of life, but the primary
object of our coming here was not to obtain more desirable temporal
blessings, or to obtain more gold or silver. This was not our view,
but we came here to do the will of our Father; and we built houses,
laid out farms and went to work as we would elsewhere, but these
things did not induce us to come here. When we enlisted in the
covenant of the everlasting Gospel of Jesus Christ, our object was to
attain eternal life; the object of our coming here was to please our
We did not merely have the Bible circulated among us; Joseph Smith did
not merely tell us that he was a missionary sent to proclaim that
which was proclaimed and believed in the Garden of Eden, or the
testimony that was given to Noah before the flood; or that he was sent
simply to bring the books of Moses with the writings of the ancient
Apostles and Prophets; or alone to inform us of the works of Jesus
Christ when upon the earth. This was not alone the work of the
Prophet, but it was that he had received a commission from the
Almighty, that he had been ordained by Peter, James and John, who were
sent unto him as messengers or ministers from the heavens with proper
authority, and had given him the legal authority of God—for what? To
build up the kingdom of God upon the earth, to organize it and set it
in order, and to ordain proper officers to execute the law. This
Apostle of Jesus Christ told the people that if they would obey
the Gospel, if they would repent of their sins, if they would be
baptized for the remission of their sins, they should receive the gift
of the Holy Ghost, by the laying on of hands, which he was authorized
Many complied with the teachings of the Prophet, and what was the
result? Much the same as we read of in the Bible and the Book of
Mormon. The Prophet translated the Book of Mormon, and therein found
the subject of salvation set forth as it is in the Bible, only more
plainly and fully. The Book of Mormon and the Prophet Joseph taught
repentance the same as the Bible, therefore they agreed; and the
Prophet never limited that instruction, neither did he limit any of
the teachings of the ancients.
If Joseph had merely sold the people the Bible and Book of Mormon,
would they have received the gift of the Holy Ghost? It was, and I
presume still is, a favorite theme with Mr. Alexander Campbell, of the
United States, that "the word is the Spirit and the Spirit is the
word," in short that there is no Spirit to be received separate from
the word of God. His logic amounts virtually to this—"Simply preach the
Bible, the word of God and salvation as printed in the Bible; and all
who purchase the Bible thereby purchase eternal life."
Who that is rational and possessed of a disposition to scan the
subject can believe such a doctrine? Doubtless Moses heard the thunder
of the Almighty on Mount Sinai, and saw the lightnings, but would you
say that I was reasoning correctly, if I were to say that I heard that
thunder and saw those lightnings simply through reading the history
thereof in the Bible? Again, would I be reasoning correctly to say,
because I have read the account of what transpired on the day of
Pentecost, when the Spirit was poured out upon the people and Peter
spoke as he was moved upon by the Holy Ghost, that I, therefore, have
seen the day of Pentecost? That because I have read the history of
some of the operations of the Holy Ghost, therefore I have the Holy
Ghost? Or that I heard them speak in tongues, because I have read the
history of persons speaking in tongues? Certainly not.
I am aware that hundreds and thousands of different denominations
disagree with Mr. Campbell, and also declare that they receive the
Spirit of the Lord, what they call the new birth, a change of the
heart, put off the old man and put on the new man, and at the same
time the operations of their minds, their course of life and all their
doings and sayings, prove that they are equally as far behind as Mr.
Campbell, and that they have only the history of the light itself.
Should you light a room with gas, and should an artist take a sketch
of the light, and some author write a history of the affair, and at a
subsequent date some other man writes history, and should the two
accounts be placed together, describing the beauty thereof and benefit
thereof, would the history of the light and the benefit that had been
derived therefrom, and the abundance of that light that was said to
have existed, light up a hall? If it would, do not buy any more
candles, but read the history of candles, and stick that history in
your candlesticks; read the history of oil and wick, and stick that in
your lamp, and see how much light you will get.
You may read the Book of Mormon and the Book of Doctrine and
Covenants, and the word of God in its various written and printed
forms, and after you have read them all, have you, by so doing, gained
any right to say that you have the light of Moses, Isaiah,
Daniel, and other ancient and modern men of God? Have you any reason
to say that you possess the same light, the same joy, the same spirit,
as they did, in consequence of your possessing the same written word
of God that they possessed? Yes, if Mr. Campbell's doctrine be
correct. No doubt the followers of Mr. Campbell consider the doctrine
true, and his logic and reasoning correct.
Some, in the so-called Christian world, contend that the spirit is the
word, and that word, they argue, will save the people.
Now suppose that some missionary or Bible society should send a few
missionaries to the Latter-day Saints, in these valleys, upon hearing
that we were short of bread and other kinds of food, and suppose that
those missionaries should tell us about the various kinds of food
necessary to sustain life; and then suppose that this benevolent
institution should publish 15 or 20,000 tracts to teach us what an
advantage it is to live in New York, London, Paris, or New Orleans,
and what they live upon in the various regions of the habitable
portions of the earth, what good would all that do us? I answer, not
After you have read in this book (holding up the Bible) concerning the
commission which Jesus gave to certain of his disciples, can you get
up and say that you are Peter, James, John, or any of the ancient
Apostles, or Prophets? Or by so doing, that you had the Holy Ghost,
the same as they had?
Could you reason that when you had read the account of the Psalmist,
where he says, "The mountains skipped like rams, and the little hills
like lambs," that you had seen the glory of God in this way, because
the Psalmist records that he saw it?
Could you, when you have read that Paul knew a man who was caught up
to the third heavens, testify that you knew the man who was caught up,
simply from having read that account?
When you read of the gifts that were bestowed upon and circulated
among the people of God, you certainly would not wish others to
suppose that mere reading about them puts you in possession of the
But many in the world would suppose that when they preach and
circulate the Bible, they actually put in the possession of the people
that power and life and those gifts, that the ancient Apostles and
Prophets and Saints of God enjoyed.
Brethren and sisters, we understand the difference between enjoying
and reading of enjoyment, between the history of a feast and the feast
itself; also between the history of the law of God and the law itself.
When the Prophet Joseph came among the people he did not tell them
that he would sell them the word of God, but after he had established
the truth in their minds and they were baptized, he then laid his
hands upon them that they might receive the gift of the Holy Ghost,
for he had promised this, and they received the Holy Comforter and the
same light, the same Spirit, the same power of God, and the same
principles of eternal life; that very gift which is the greatest gift
of God, and it gave them the same joy, and the same great blessings,
and this Spirit taught them the will of God.
Herein is the difference between this Church and the people of the
world. They rejoice in thinking that their forefathers had such rich
blessings, and that they were so happy and rejoiced so much that they
saw God, His Son Jesus Christ, and Peter, James, and John; and that
their forefathers received the Holy Ghost.
We rejoice that we have seen and that our Prophets have received the like blessing, and not that we read of their enjoyment. We
rejoice that our God lives, that Jesus Christ His Son lives, and that
the gifts and blessings are bestowed upon us.
It is generally admitted that it is natural for parents to love their
young children as well as the older ones, and if there be any
difference, they will love the youngest ones a little the most, for
they sometimes have to be more severe with the older ones.
But the world reverse this doctrine with regard to the Almighty, for
they make God love Adam, Abraham, and the ancients, but when it comes
down to the present time their wonderful, peacemaking religion makes
them rejoice that their older brethren and sisters had rich dinners
and suppers, and that they had feasted on the good things of heaven,
but that our father is so unmerciful in our day that we have to eat
According to the doctrine of our religious friends, we have to rejoice
that the ancients enjoyed the rich blessings of our Father, and that
He will not give us anything but the history thereof. (President B.
Young: And the chaff.)
Such a course is not as consistent as that of the devil, for he treats
his first children in a certain way, and then he treats all the others
in much the same way; he treats everybody about alike.
Have we not a right to receive those blessings that were enjoyed by
our elder brethren? If the devil tempts and tries everybody, and if
the young children have to be tried, why not the young be blest like
the old children?
I am aware that the Latter-day Saints require a great deal of
preaching, and some of that, too, on subjects very easy of
comprehension; I will tell you what I said to one of our home
missionaries a few days ago, and I said the same to one of the
brethren from Grantsville, when speaking to him about the petty
They wanted a new local President and a new local Bishop, they wanted
this, that, and the other, and wished to know what we had to say. I
remarked, if you wish to know what I have to say, I will tell you.
Said I, if an angel of God should come to that village, he would say
to its inhabitants, "Repent and wash your bodies, repent and clean up
your dooryards, repent and cleanse your outhouses," all of which I
seriously think that they have very much need to do.
After they have actually cleansed themselves and commenced doing
right, and have cleansed their locality, I presume that then an angel,
or a man of God, might tell them what further to do.
I actually suppose that in the instructions which an angel of God
would give, the very first lesson would be to teach cleanliness to the
filthy, and then instruct them to keep themselves cleanly all the
time. This is what our President is frequently teaching you; and yet
you may go into some parts of this city, and you would actually think
that Provo River affords no more water than would suffice for
I like a place constantly kept clean, and that must be so to satisfy
me, I not only want the history of a people's being clean, and of
their having cleansed up their dooryards, outbuildings, and grounds,
but I want them to do it.
We have preached cleanliness at Fillmore, last winter; and when I went
there lately I was pleased to see that they had made some little
But there is still by far too much carelessness in this matter, and
some people seem to love to live amidst filth, and to snuff its
nauseous and unhealthy odors, when it would be far better to
apply it to enriching your soil.
You have been taught true doctrines, and the Lord God has given you
the Holy Ghost which has purified your hearts, and now purify all that
pertains to you.
The time will come when you will be tried in this respect; and the
days of power will come, when the power of God will be more abundantly
poured out upon those who are prepared for it. And you who have the
truth and do not live up to it, who do not live up to that light and
intelli gence which is given you, who do not purify your bodies, your
clothing, your buildings, your dooryards, gardens, and fields, may
look for the wrath of God to burn against you.
It is your duty to be clean and neat, and it is the duty of all the
settlements throughout the Territory.
You have the history of the light, and you have received the virtue
and power which are in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and it is for you
to obey your leaders and the intelligence which is in you, which may
the Lord grant, in the name of Jesus. Amen.
- Jedediah M. Grant